Find the right Christmas present for your gardener

If you are like me, there are so many people in my life that have so much. What to buy them for Christmas?

As winter progresses, I look forward to yardwork — the perennials, annuals, wild flowers — and, of course, the garden. My gardener friends, like me, want tools and tips that their jobs easier and more efficient, so why not give gardening tools as Christmas presents?

While the holidays are weeks away, shopping season is here. To help you buy for others (or yourself), I have compiled my list of favorites, and why they make gardening so much easier. I have arthritis issues, and these save drudgery, pain and time for me.

• First, my No. 1 tool is the hoe and cultivator hand tiller.

This marvel, which I affectionately call the dooga dooga (pronounced du-ga do-ga) cuts roots, breaks up the ground, cultivates clods, makes furrows, covers those furrows once planted — all with an ergonomically correct handle of soft, absorbent plastic.

It is a hoe, a cultivator, a claw rake, a weeder and a trowel, all in one. And my hands love it. This tool is my “pet” and Bill knows better than to mess with this baby.

• Second, hand pruners are so handy for all occasions.

They must be clean and sharp to take out that stray branch, tough weed, and you want a clean sharp cut to any plant. Hand pruners reduce tearing, that “chewed” look to a branch that you cut.

• Next, when I was a child, it was called a yard broom, but current terminology calls it a tine rake. This tool is so easy to keep clean and for raking up leaves, muck off the pond, around plants and any other lightweight work. The steel rake is designed for the heavy lifting, and so is my husband.

• The branch lopper with compound action is a wonder.

This heavy duty pruner “shifts gears” when the handles come close together, so less pressure (from my arms) is needed to cut those low hanging branches or rose canes.

• My last must-have tool is my bulb planter. When I was a child, we had this tool and I loved it then, and I love it now.

We had to hunt to find just the right one. It is waist high at the handle and has a cup end similar to a tube. It shows how deep the tube end is going into the ground for perfect bulb planting. I just set it down, apply my foot to one side, then jump on the other and I have the hole for that spring bulb. I set it in, eye at the top, and tap the end over the bulb and tamp it down.

Come spring my tulip, daffodil, or muscari will burst forth announcing spring has come.

• Finally, an easy-to-use rain gauge is a gift that keeps on giving. Most plants in the garden need an inch of rain per week, so gardeners can keep track of rain vs. the need for irrigation throughout the growing season.

Merry Christmas, all my fellow gardeners. This year, feel free to buy something new for yourself — and for the gardeners you love.

For more details, visit:



To learn more about pruning tools with descriptions and videos, go to http://go.osu.edu/pruningtools

Hughes is an Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.


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