10 Best Holiday Gifts For Gardeners | Gardening

Stumped about what the gardener in your family wants most for the holidays? If you were paying close attention to the gardener’s running commentary throughout the year, you would have picked up some clues. Among the mumbling and grumbling, you would have heard things such as, ” If I just had one more (fill in the blank), it would look perfect,” or “One of these days, I’m going to have to get a (fill in the blank)” or the far more subtle, “I really liked how that (fill in the blank) looked in the neighbor’s garden.”If you missed the boat this year, forget about giving the same old garden gloves or trowel set and offer something more imaginative. Here are my top 10 recommendations for the best holiday gifts for gardeners.1. Ratchet tools. Among the new tools I’ve pounced upon are ratcheted loppers with telescoping handles that extend at the push of a button, and ratchet pruners. Both forestall that wrist and thumb pain that becomes so common as we age. Gardeners who suffer from arthritis will find they can last longer, with less pain, by selecting tools that are specifically designed to substitute leverage for strength.2. Nursery gift certificates. It’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for a gardener’s favorite local plant nursery. Such gifts are really more than the plants themselves, since the gardener gets to spend a pleasant spring morning outdoors, choosing exactly what tickles his or her fancy.

3. Cash toward a large purchase. Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since such items are usually chosen as focal points after much soul-searching, and may represent more to the gardener than meets the eye. They are also costly, so the recipient will be grateful for the contribution you make. Gifts like this will be seen every day and the giver(s) remembered for their thoughtfulness.4. Services and labor. How about paying for a month of gardener coaching or an online gardening class? A prepaid consultation with a landscape designer? A weekend’s worth of labor? A backhoe rental? Or installing a deer exclosure?5. Books. Garden books make welcome presents, though well-meaning friends and relatives of long-term gardeners are taking a chance by making a selection themselves. A better choice might be a gift certificate to a bookstore, or to Amazon, where an armload of used books can be purchased for a pittance. Since the information in gardening books rarely goes out of date (except, perhaps, for pesticides, preservatives, and pests), think about buying a collection of early books by garden writers, landscape designers, or photographers whose works your gardener admires.6. Videos. Another option is art-quality picture books or videos of famous gardens from around the world. Even dyed-in-the-wool hands-on dirt gardeners enjoy being transported on an imaginary tour in the dead of winter. I particularly enjoy movies that feature beautiful gardens, such as Howard’s End, or My House in Umbria, even though the story may not be about the garden itself.7. Tours. Garden tours abound locally in warm weather months, hosted by garden clubs, art and historical societies, and museums. Internationally, commercial tour operators who specialize in garden tours to far-off places, such as London, Paris Thailand, China, and South America offer trips year-round. Tickets to tours, near or far, will be warmly received.8. Naturecams. If your idea of adventure lies more in your own backyard, get a birdcam or plantcam. After the photo (or video) files are loaded into the computer, there will be hours of enjoyment for the whole family.9. Bird watching accessories. One year, we decided the theme for presents would be birds. There were six birdhouses, four bird feeders, birdseed, scoops for getting the birdseed into the feeders, a suet feeder, suet and a bat house (I know, I know, not a bird) in front of the fireplace. We had lots of fun feeding the birds in winter and choosing the best spots for the birdhouses the following spring. Binoculars are another good choice.

10. Memberships. Simple gifts, such as membership in an arboretum, botanical garden, or conservancy are very affordable and offer a win-win. The organization gets much-needed funding and the gardener gets discounts on programs, trips, and gift-shop purchases. Members may also gain entre to garden tour preview parties and plant sales. Many public gardens honor one-anothers’ memberships by offering entry-fee discounts.Remember that gardening is primarily about dreaming something from the mind’s eye into existence. Any gift that helps a gardener birth that dream into the real world is the perfect gift.©2010 Lois J. de Vries. All Rights Reserved WorldwideVisit: http://cultivatingtheinnergardener.blogspot.com

5 Things You Want Know Before Building Wooden Garden Sheds | Gardening

You’ve been gardening for a year or two now and have discovered that this is one hobby that you want to continue. Gardening not only brings you personal fulfillment but, your home and yard has never looked better. The only problem is the more you garden the more tools and equipment you accumulate. The time has come for you to provide your tools and equipment with a home of their own. A garden shed is the perfect place to keep all those gardening essentials in one place and you are thinking about building your own shed. You have been looking at plans for wooden garden sheds and there are so many to choose from you are not quite sure how to go about choosing the right garden shed plans for you.While different gardeners have different needs, here are 5 things every gardener wants in their garden sheds:SpaceWhile the amount of space you are going to want in your shed is going to depend a great deal on what equipment you have or plan to have in future, you are going to want to make sure that your wooden garden sheds have enough space to accommodate everything you have now plus enough additional space for any tools or equipment you will be adding in the future. A good rule of thumb is to build your wooden garden sheds 1/3 larger than your present needs. That way you will have the extra space you need for anything you forgot to consider or simply for future additions to your gardening arsenal.ConvenienceYou are also going to want to arrange the items in your wooden gardening sheds in a way that they are convenient to get and so that the shed itself is convenient to use. This means you are going to want to choose a plan for your gardening shed that has directions for building such things as shelves, racks for hanging tools such as rakes, hoes, weed whips and other tools that you don’t want to just pile in the corner. You may also want to consider such conveniences as a full side opening door to get the garden tractors in and out of the wooden garden sheds easier and perhaps potting and resting benches. You might even want to consider adding a porch to your shed so that you can rest out of the sun while working in your garden.

StyleHaving the right style of wooden garden sheds are another thing most gardeners want. No one who spends time making their yard and garden beautiful wants a shed that is an eyesore. So, choosing a shed that is the right style to match your surroundings and the existing buildings on your property is a must for most gardeners. There are many different styles of sheds to choose from such as saltbox, barn, gingerbread and even colonial.LooksNot only do most gardeners want the right style of wooden garden sheds, they want their shed to have the right look about it. Adding windows or the right roof or trim to your shed can help it to blend in and enhance it’s surroundings. It also helps to create a better impression of your entire property as well which is important to gardeners who take pride in the appearance of their home.Ease Of BuildingMost gardeners who build their own wooden garden sheds want a shed that is simple and easy to build allowing for a professional finished looking project. Not everyone is a skilled carpenter and most Do it yourselfers need plans that offer simple step by step directions that are easy to follow and results in a great looking building when assembled. Luckily, with so many shed plans to choose from finding a shed plan that matches your building skills should be a simple matter of doing a little research. Finding the right plans for wooden garden sheds that meet all your needs and gives you everything you want in a garden shed will make your enjoyment of caring for your yard and garden all the more pleasurable. You just may find that it is the best investment you ever made.Things To Consider When Choosing Your Wooden Garden Shed PlansIf you are a serious gardener you know the importance of having all your tools and equipment together and close to your working area. Nothing is more frustrating than wasting time looking for a certain tool to use because you have to store your gardening equipment in different places. Wooden garden sheds seem like the perfect thing to keep all those garden essentials together and to help keep your yard and garden neat. There are literally hundreds of plans for sheds to choose from so finding one you like shouldn’t be much of a problem. However, there are a few things you need to consider before you make that final selection for the shed you will want to build.SizeThe first important consideration is going to be what size of a shed you need. If you have a small garden and only a few basic tools your wooden garden sheds only need to be large enough to hold everything neatly. However, if you have a large yard and garden and need a place to store a lawn tractor and garden cart as well as your various tools, fertilizer and the such a much bigger shed will be needed to meet those needs. The larger the shed the more things you will need to consider such as location and the type of foundation your shed will need. If you are going to need a larger foundation you might want to consider hiring a professional to lay your foundation for you to help ensure that when you build your sheds they are level and have the firmest foundations possible.FunctionThe second thing you will want to take into consideration before choosing the plans for your wooden garden sheds are, what you want the sheds function to be. For example, is it only going to house tools or do you want a shed with a full opening side door to make it easy to get that garden cart and tractor in and out of the shed. You might also want to consider your need for a potting bench. Potting benches often come in useful especially for people who have potted plants as well as an outdoor garden. However, only you can judge whether you will actually have need of a potting bench or not.

AestheticsAesthetics is another important consideration when choosing wooden garden sheds. You’ve seen those sheds that stand out like a sore thumb neither matching the other buildings on the owners property or blending in with the garden itself. These buildings may be functional but, they take away from the overall beauty of the yard and garden on which they stand. You don’t want your shed to detract from the overall beauty of your home and yard so it is important to choose a plan for the wooden garden sheds that will blend in and compliment your home, yard and garden. There are various kinds of wood you can choose from for your shed, as well as various designs that can match the other buildings on your property and help these wooden garden sheds to blend in and actually enhance your home and yard rather than detract from it.Your Own Building SkillsAnother thing you have to take into consideration when choosing from the hundreds of available building plans for wooden garden sheds is your building skills. While some plans are simple and easy for even someone with extremely limited building skills to master other plans are quite intricate and complicated and can be difficult for those whose building skills are limited. If you are going to build your wooden garden sheds yourself, you are going to want to choose a storage shed building plan that is within your skill area so that the finished shed will look as good as possible. Of course, you always have the option of hiring a builder and this is something you may want to consider if the plans that you choose are beyond your comfort level.Considering these four things when choosing the plans for your wooden garden sheds will help you make the right choice for you and your needs.