What do you give the gardener who has everything? Perhaps a luxurious back and neck massage to ease those endless hours of digging? Or perhaps a good manicure to file away all that grime from under the nails?
Let’s face it though, not many gardeners actually do have everything, a garden always needs something new – which makes finding a gift this Christmas that little bit easier.
You don’t have to go big – a few pretty plant labels in, say, slate or terracotta, a selection of seeds to keep them busy in the New Year, some stationery with fruit or veg patterns or simply a new pair of secateurs to help them through spring pruning may go down well.
There’s a plethora of personalised gifts for the gardener – check out www.gettingpersonal.com for a selection of calendars, diaries, crates and even shed signs that can be personalised to feature the recipient’s name.
If you’re looking to replace bog standard basics with more stylish ones, consider a new watering can and matching plant pots from Fallen Fruits (www.qvcuk.com or phone 0800 50 40 30).
Burgon & Ball also has stylish new ranges of forks, trowels, kneelers and other accessories, endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. I particularly like the Chrysanthemum pattern, taken from the striking illustration of Chrysanthemum ‘Karashishi’ by the Japanese artist K Hasegawa, dating from 1891 and taken from the RHS’s Lindley Library.
The trowel and fork come in a beautiful printed box, featuring painted handles printed with the RHS logo and an engraving of the Gertrude Jekyll quote, ‘The love of gardening is a seed once sown, that never dies’ on the body of the trowel. Priced £19.95, they’re available from all good garden centres, RHS plant centres and www.burgonandball.com.
Gardeners who want to match their stylish new tools may want to chuck out their old wellies in favour of some natty new Kew Sprig ankle wellies from Cath Kidston. They don’t just look good, they are snug too, whether on the allotment, trudging through the snow or on their way to a summer festival. Made of rubber with a cotton inner, priced £35 in sizes 4-8, for stockist details visit www.cathkidston.com.
For new vegetable gardeners Mr Fothergill’s Get Growing range of seeds (£1.60-£3.15) and kits, including herb pots (£1.49), starter collection boxes (£8.49) and mini windowsill propagator kits (£3.29) will make ideal stocking-fillers. For details go to www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.
If you know a gardener who gets peckish while working in the garden, a selection of luxury biscuits in quirky tubes of ‘Keep Calm’ gardening themes may make the ideal gift. The tubes can be used to store plant labels, string and other gardening sundries long after biscuits have been eaten (triple pack £13.99, www.thompson-morgan.com/ 0844 573 1818).
Gardeners who prefer to make their own produce may opt for a new cheese-making kit from Suttons (www.suttons.co.uk/christmas), featuring everything you need to make mozzarella and ricotta in under an hour, adding your own freshly grown herbs and spices to the cheeses. The kit has enough to make 10 batches and each batch weighs around 2lbs – that’s a lot of cheese for a kit costing £19.99.
Ornamental owls may have made their mark in the garden in the past couple of years, but now other animals are also gaining momentum. A new collection of solar- powered metal silhouette animals including an elephant, horse, hare, peacock, duck, swan, pheasant, heron and cockerel cast both light and interesting shadows at night. Each contains an integral solar panel that powers a rechargeable battery lighting either a white LED or a colour-changing LED at night. Ranging in price from £24.99 to £39.99, they are available from most leading garden centres. For details go to www.smartsolar.com.
Those who want to attract real wildlife into their garden can do so with a striking new Echoes bird bath from Suttons, a sturdy glazed ceramic piece in shades of dusky pink, brown and green, with matching feet. The first verse of William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence is inscribed around the edge. (£24.99, www.suttons.co.uk/christmas or 0844 922 0606)
If your loved one is more interested in entertaining guests around the Christmas table than entertaining bird life, look no further than a dazzling miniature azalea tree from Thompson & Morgan. The present features a double-flowered evergreen azalea (height 50-60cm/20-24in) shaped like a mini Christmas tree, branches laden with buds, delivered in a pot. The plant comes in either red or white (£39.99, www.thompson-morgan.com/ 0844 5731818).
A sure-fire win for any gardener is an annual pass with the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) or an RHS membership (www.rhs.org.uk) which includes free garden visits.