The Casual Gardener: Christmas gifts for gardeners who only think they have it all
From stocking fillers to big ticket items there's no shortage of green-fingered gifts…
:: Garden kneeler folding seat stool with handles and tool bag – I was in my 30s when I first started writing this weekly column and I’m now well into my 50s, so you’ll appreciate that my priorities have changed. Comfort and an ability to go from ground level to a standing position without risking injury is now a key consideration and in this regard the garden kneeler is a winner, even if younger members of my family liken it to a Zimmer frame. It’s easily stored and carried, and can be flipped over to create a seat. The padded kneeler comes with an added tool pouch that can be fitted in both sitting and kneeling positions. Expect to pay – under £20
:: Rotatable composter – It really shouldn’t be necessary for me to outline the many virtues of homemade compost. It fertilises and conditions your soil unlike anything you can buy, while at the same time enabling you to dispose of your kitchen and garden waste in a convenient, environmentally friendly manner. A drum or rotating composter may not have the capacity of their standard upright counterparts but they tend to process the material quicker because rotation increases the supply of oxygen. Expect to pay –around £70
:: Portable radio – A present such as this is ideal for an allotment holder who doesn’t have the luxury of nipping into their own home for tea break or at lunchtime. Good company whether digging or relieving the boredom when forced under cover by a shower, portable radios range from sophisticated DAB sets to eco-friendly wind-ups. For a wind-up set, the Roberts Wanderer R9957 scored highest in a Gardening Which? test and gives 25 minutes of play time for one minute's winding. Expect to pay – from £15.
:: Table Top Garden – Possibly more a gift for an aspiring gardener than the seasoned one, a table top garden is ideal for those who love to tend plants but are perhaps lacking in one key element – a garden. Instead of rambling roses or the world’s biggest aspidistra, there’ll be micro greens or Bonsai succulents. However, the necessary skills and attributes that make a good gardener will still be required. Expect to pay – from £20.
:: A hoe – Arguably the most underrated garden tool, in the right hands a hoe can do almost anything, including – according to one US website – killing snakes. While you may argue there’s no requirement for the latter here in Ireland, it’s likely you’ll find many other uses for it. It’s primary purpose is of course for hoeing, which if kept sharp it is unsurpassable. Expect to pay – from £15.
:: Push mower – We’re in the post-ride-on age, and where once gardeners with push mowers were scoffed at as Luddites, these days they’re regarded as trailblazers. Safer, cheaper and more eco-friendly then a noisy petrol mower and far more convenient than its electric counterpart, it’s little wonder these man-powered classics are making a comeback. They say the Rolls Royce of push mowers is the Al-Ko 380HM Soft Touch Premium. This lightweight cylinder mower is capable of producing a fine, close finish on a regularly maintained lawn. Its manoeuvrability makes it ideal for gardens with lots of obstacles, while it collapses down for ease of storage. Expect to pay – From £50