garden gifts: 16 things I’d like, or like to give

garden gifts 1

DEAR SANTA: I have been very, very bad. Such facts notwithstanding, I’m submitting a request for the following items, should you be so kind as to overlook my occasional foul mouth, endless complaints about the weather, procrastination over writing my next book, and other general naughtiness. Begging your forgiveness, may I please have a pair of Okatsune pruners, more mossy pots and Weck canning jars, something magic to heal my wounded gardener’s hands, and a brush to clean the damn birdfeeder? (Oh, dear, there I go again….) The list of things I’d like, or like to give:

I don’t know if my hands can ever look as good as Kate Hudson’s face, but she loves Egyptian Magic Skin Cream and so do I. An all-purpose balm. About $30 for 4 ounces.

The inside of my birdfeeder looks even worse than my hands or face. Please, Santa, won’t you bring me a brush for cleaning it, like the one from Brushtech? About $10.

There’s this problem of too little moisture, Mr. Claus, on this aging face of mine (I think your beard helps obscure any such issue you may have). Wish I could trap some in a Johnny’s rain gauge and repurpose it, but I’ll have to settle for just the first half of that thought. My favorite weather device ever, just $4.95 from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

Maybe a garden hose would do the rehydration trick? My favorite is super lightweight and truly kink-free, from Water Right Inc. In 25-, 50-, 75- or 100-foot lengths and beautiful colors. About $20 to $80.

What never looks anything but positively spectacular are the latest art packs from Hudson Valley Seed Library, and though I’d like them all ($75 for 23 varieties of seed), I’d settle for the ‘Cosmonaut Volkov’ tomato and the ‘Mammoth Long Island Dill,’ about $3.75 apiece.

Now back to the subject of aging (not that it’s on my mind or anything): Would you indulge me in a mossy pot from the “aged” terra cotta collection at Campo de’ Fiori (show in top collage, their Poppy style)? From $20-something to hundreds, shaped like shells or pine cones or classic urns, bowls and other basics. Browse around and drool.

I’ve been a Felco girl forever, but recently I tried a friend’s Okatsune pruners, which are Japanese made, and oh my oh my. Can I have a pair of my own? About $55.

I’m willing to delay gratification if you’ll reserve another coral-colored peony for me at Peony’s Envy or Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm, or just about anything Clematis (or any other climber) at Brushwood Nursery (Garden Vines).

garden gifts 2
When we shift from rain to snow season, my choice of favorite tool shifts, too—to my Yaktrax that I strap onto all my shoes and boots. Great for avoiding a horizontal view of winter. Pro model, about $30; Extreme about $60.

Inside, I’ll be cooking, especially from Anna Thomas’s “Love Soup,” from Melissa Clark’s “Cook This Now,” and Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day.”  All smart, and all emphasizing seasonal fresh ingredients.

Speaking of cooking: I started tossing my Tupperware and other plastics in favor of all glass jars, and I sure do love the German Weck ones. More, please—for use in the freezer, refrigerator, pantry and for canning. About $30 for 6 large or 12 small at Kaufmann Mercantile (choose from all the nicest shapes); onesies of the plainest style at Crate and Barrel.

My library got a whole lot better recently with the addition of two key references: Michael Dirr’s new “Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs,” and the other an exploration of the astonishing and exotic-looking world of caterpillars: “Caterpillars of Eastern North America,” by David L. Wagner.

(Note on all links and prices: Shop around—where there are multiple sizes or colors of something, I’ve simply linked to the manufacturer, but you may do better elsewhere. I gave an average price—you know how it goes with shipping and deals and so on. Exhausting!)


  1. Terryk says:

    Great list Margaret. Hope Santa forgives you and you find something from your wish list inder the tree. On a side note, peonies? I thought you did not have them in your garden because you had too much shade. Did you see the woodland, species one offered recently? If I was not in the middle of home indoor projects I would have ordered that.

  2. Kate says:

    Great list. I see quite a few things I could really use!

    Just a note about the Weck jars– they are much cheaper at weckjars.com than from Kaufmann Mercantile.

  3. Dan says:

    Margaret, I love the Poppy Pots, too! Got one for Becky a couple of years back at Trade Secrets. Also, we’ve used nothing but Okasune prunes at the nursery for years now. Yup, they’re great!

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Dan, and nice of you to come say hello. Also glad (but not surprised) to hear we like the same stuff. Great minds think alike and all that (tee hee).

  4. Karen says:

    Though they’re a bit pricey, I like the site Life Without Plastic. Check it out! I bought a stainless bowl with a lid that clamps on and is completely leak-proof. I’ve been using it for two years now, to bring my lunch to work.

  5. Alejandro says:

    Sneeboer garden tools for me, please! I guess we all have our favorite trowel or our favorite spade. In my case they are both Sneeboer.

  6. Linda says:

    I love the look of the canning jars. I began switching from plastic to glass storage containers and other non-plastics for food storage. I did the search as you suggested and found Weck’s site at http://www.weckcanning.com/products.php. The 6 packs are actually a little bit cheaper, although I did not check on shipping costs.

    Thank you for bringing these to my attention. I did my canning in Bormioli Quattro Stagioni canning jars instead of Ball or Kerr. I like the fact that the jars had one solid lid. . . . These Weck jars would be better in that the lids, clamps/clips, and seals will last longer and makes it easier to replace the individual pieces.

    1. Margaret says:

      Happy to share, Elizabeth. Of course the minute I hit the button to publish it, I thought of 10 more things… :) See you soon again I hope.

  7. Sheri says:

    I’ve bookmarked the websites for two of your picks for intense scrutiny later. Certainly I’ll be buying myself at last one gift from your list this holiday.

    An alternative to the Yaktrax: Try making your own “screw shoes” as I and many other winter-time joggers have done. Screw several 1/8″ sheet metal screws into the soles of an old pair of shoes or boots, making sure, of course, that the soles are thicker than 1/8″. When wearing my screw shoes, I’m able to jog up and down icy hills without slipping.

  8. I love your list. The Weck jars raise gifts from the pantry to a new level: stack a couple of sizes containing, say, preserved lemons & a special salt, tie with a satin ribbon & Voila! Oh, and for those suffering hands? Bag Balm is a cheap and effective remedy. Happy Holidays!

  9. Kate says:

    If you like Egyptian Magic, there’s a more organic (and less expensive!) version called Sweet Bee Magic — they sell it at Whole Foods in parts of California – but you can get it online too. I use it for the extreme dry hands, but also pretty much any other skin ailment I can thing of and it comes through every time!

  10. Lorie says:

    Re the birdfeeder brush…have you seen the new Droll Yankee Onyx Clever Clean tube feeder? Must have been designed by a woman. :) It just plain eliminates all the
    wretchedness that goes with cleaning a tube feeder. No, I don’t work for them. I’m just very tired of cleaning bird feeders and appreciate this wondrous design.

  11. Deborah B says:

    Great list! I would add great digger gloves from WomansWork. I asked for these for my early December birthday, and not only did my husband get them in time for me, but he also surprised me with a gorgeous bluestone birdbath made right here in Delaware County NY. I love it! (But can’t help wondering what else they make…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.