Gift Ideas for Today’s Gardener

Written for Home Garden Seed Association

Even lifelong gardeners are constantly discovering books, tools, and experiences that will make the job easier, richer, and more rewarding. Here are ideas for holiday—or anytime—gift giving.

Books to hold in your hands. Some reading is best done the old-fashioned way, on the page. Here are a few recommendations for curious gardeners of various ages:

  • From Seed to Plant, by Gail Gibbons. 32 pages. This book for young readers explores the role of pollinators and the mysteries of how flowers, fruits, and vegetables get to be the way they are.
  • The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown. 40 pages. A young boy discovers a struggling garden and cares for it. The garden spreads throughout the city and transforms it into a lush world.
  • Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs, by Whitney Cranshaw. 672 pages. Comprehensive, user-friendly, and full of great photos, this is an essential guide to insects in your back yard garden.
  • The Bee-Friendly Garden, by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn. 224 pages. No matter how small or large your space, this guide will help you create a vibrant, beautiful garden habitat that attracts the threatened honeybee and our own native bees.
  • The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live, by Niki Jabbour. 256 pages. The author shares her simple techniques for gardening throughout the year. Learn the art of succession planting, how to select the best varieties for each season, and how to protect your crops with inexpensive structures.
  • Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time, by Craig LeHoullier. 256 pages. This essential guide celebrates one of the most versatile and delicious crops in your garden, providing profiles and photos of more than 200 tomato varieties. It is a comprehensive how-to for tomato enthusiasts, detailing planting, cultivating, and disease prevention techniques.

Must-have Tools that your favorite gardener is probably hankering for:

  • Gloves, whether made from inexpensive nitrile or durable goatskin, are always a welcome gift for gardeners.
  • A Garden Knife with a sheath is a multipurpose back-pocket tool for digging, weeding, slicing through roots, and more. Look for one with a serrated edge.
  • A Pruner Holster can clip onto a belt or pocket, or loop onto a belt. Either way, it will help keep pruners safe and handy.
  • A Narrow-Edged Digging Spade, sometimes called a transplanting spade, penetrates hard soil much more easily than a typical garden spade. Every gardener needs one!
  • Watering Can styles run the gamut from quirky to elegant. The traditional galvanized design is as practical as it is timeless.

Harvesting or Foodie Gifts, for the food gardener:

  • A Wire Garden Basket is a stylish vegetable collector. A Tub Trug is utilitarian to the max, useful for harvesting, potting, bottom-watering dry plants, and more. You know your gardener; you’ll know which one to choose.
  • An Herb Drying Rack that hangs from the ceiling is useful for drying thyme, sage, and rosemary for cooking, and flowers of many kinds for crafts.
  • Dehydrators range from under $75 for simple stacked types to over $300 if you want digital controls or other upgrades. They produce dried vegetables in 4 to 12 hours (depending on what you are drying) for use in soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes throughout the winter.
  • Grilling Baskets are inexpensive, and helpful for cooking veggies or kabobs on the grill.

Starting from Seed saves money, and often yields better plants!

  • Grow Lights can make the difference between limp, leggy seedlings and compact, healthy young plants.
  • Pollinator Seed Packs are perfect gift choices for everyone, because the plight of the bees is too important to ignore!
  • A Seedling Tray Warming Pad will get emerging seedlings off to a fast and healthy start.
  • And you’ll never go wrong with a Seed Company Gift Certificate.

Inspiration happens when a gardener sees possibilities in beautiful pictures, experiences, or objects.

  • Membership in a Public Garden will provide a year’s worth of education and inspiration, while supporting a worthy organization!
  • Vegetable Posters and vegetable art show the beauty of the harvest—and they’re an economical gift idea.
  • Garden Containers, whether made from classic terra cotta or a lightweight material, are always welcome, the bigger the better.
  • A Tall Garden Tuteur to show off a bean plant or flowering vine, or a pot-sized one for supporting a smaller plant, makes an elegant gift.