, Newburyport, MA

December 18, 2013

Tim's Tips: What to get the gardener on your list

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — I know that sometimes it is hard to think of gifts for some people on your shopping list. If the person on your list likes to garden, let me give you a few ideas of things you can get for him or her.

Most people who garden need small tools. I don’t know how many times people have come into the store and told me that the pruners they have don’t cut well anymore. For some reason, they will suffer through using the old pruners.

There are two types of hand pruners. The anvil pruner is designed for quick cutting of branches and stems. Bypass pruners are used to cut off stems close to the branches of plants.

Many people damage their pruners by trying to cut branches that are too large for the pruner. A pair of loping shears will handle the big branches that need to be cut.

Another item that people use or lose are trowels. Trowels are used for digging holes for planting annuals and perennials. Almost every gardener has one or more bent trowels in the cellar. A good-quality trowel is necessary for working in the garden.

Every gardener needs a good pair of gloves. Gardening gloves used to be made as “one size fits all.” That concept works as well with gloves as it would with a pair of shoes. Many gloves now come in sizes to fit the hands of individuals.

There are lightweight gloves for everyday garden chores. There are also gloves designed for handling wet leaves and wet soil. Every gardener has at least one pair of worn-out gloves. Many people have at least three pairs of gloves that consist of only the left or right hand. New gloves make a great gift.

Many people will start their own plants for their gardens. They will buy seeds and grow the plants from seed. The problem in doing this is that many people don’t have enough windows that get enough sun to grow a nice-quality plant.

Grow light systems create the light that plants need for strong growth. Seeds will also sprout better if they have warm soil conditions. A heat mat will help those seeds sprout faster and at a higher rate. Containers for growing seeds and the proper soil for growing seeds are also important things for gardeners starting seeds indoors. You can also buy them packets of seeds, which are available year-round.

There are also things that gardeners want but for some reason won’t treat themselves to as a garden item. I am talking about things like a quality wind chime. There are many types of tinny-sounding wind chimes. There are some manufacturers who make hand-tuned wind chimes. These are tuned to a particular musical key. This creates a consistent melody that isn’t grating to the ears. Gazing globes are round, glass globes that come in different colors and designs. They are used as an accent in the garden.

There are also many self-contained garden kits that allow you to grow flowers or vegetables in a small, deck-sized container. Systems like the Earth Box allow a gardener to grow vegetable plants right on the deck. People who have used them sing the praises of how well they grow plants.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you to pick out a good gift for the gardener on your list. If none of these things strikes your fancy, then gift cards will allow your gardener to pick his or her own plants and gardening needs come the spring.

Well, that’s all for this week. Next week is Christmas, so there won’t be a column.


Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.