There are a lot of things that a gardener might wish for, which you are not able to give, during the holidays.
Perfect weather, ideal soils, 100% germination and a permanent solution for the neighbourhood squirrels. We have talked to a lot of experts on these topics, but there is no quick fix.
We can, however, help you find something else the gardener on your list might be wishing for, with our 2019 Holiday Gift ideas:
- Garden Clogs. Yard activity of any kind can require good “garden footwear”. A good garden shoe or boot has a comfortable sole, is water-proof and easy on-and-off. The on-and-off is important because it makes it that much easier to step outside when you just need to deadhead for a few minutes, or even for bringing out the trash without bringing the dirt on your shoe back into the house. Sloggers (https://www.sloggers.com/) are a popular Made-in-USA brand available online and at many garden retailers, or you can do like Ben and opt for the Birkenstock “Super-Birki”, a waterproof clog designed for chefs who are on their feet all day. We note that many professional gardeners prefer wearing Blundstone boots. Made in Tasmania (of all places), they are waterproof, easy to slip on and off, comfortable and they are available in a steel-toed version.
- A New Lawnmower. If you love someone enough to spend a few hundred dollars on a gift and it you love our planet, consider an eco friendly lawn mower. We only recommend an electric lawnmower for most sized lawns even while Ben sticks to his all-manual Mark’s Choice reel mower. Cordless electric lawnmowers have come a long way in recent years. Like your cellphone or Mark’s new Tesla, electric mowers on the market now employ lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter and more powerful than the old nickel-hybrid units. We have both tried and like the Stihl brand of lithium-ion cordless mowers, which are available only through their dealers. If you’re a real “techie”, check out their iMow robotic mower – no gardener required (and therefore no boots).
- A Potato Bag. No, not a “bag of potatoes”. Growing potatoes in a reusable container eliminates the need to find yard space for them. It works remarkably well. The potato bag has a “trap door” which makes harvesting easy. It also warms up quicker than the potatoes in the ground due to its’ dark colour. A wallet-friendly gift item that really makes growing one of our favourite vegetables a joy.
- New Pots.Too often we see beautiful plant material in garish-looking plastic pots. It’s easy to cheap out on pots, but there are better quality alternatives out there. At craft fairs across the country there are local potters cranking out stunning pottery. Any natural material – clay or wood – is an improvement over the plastic alternative.
- Green Orgs.Why not donate in the name of a family member or friend to an organization that is committed to changing the world. There are many not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to planting trees in the urban environment. Check out Tree Canada https://treecanada.ca/ and our favourite Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign (www.hohtribute.ca ).
In addition, consider World Wildlife Fund http://www.wwf.ca/, Nature Conservancy Canada http://www.natureconservancy.ca/, Nature United Canada https://www.natureunited.ca/ and ICFC (International Conservation Fund of Canada) https://icfcanada.org/.
If you are interested in saving the planet by conserving the ever-decreasing Amazon rain forest, our favourite charity is ICFC or International Conservation Fund of Canada. They partner with the native Brazilian people of the Kayapo nation to protect Amazon land that is legally theirs.
Now is a great time to act when celebrating a green holiday.
Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and Member of the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at markcullen.com, @markcullengardening, and on Facebook.