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The Doyenne of Dirt:
Great Gifts for Gardeners Redux!

Lawn Doggie and Bathing Beauty

Listen to Ketzel talk about garden-related holiday gifts

Back by popular demand! For your perusal, the DofD's second annual gift list for gardeners. Stand by for a selection that pays homage to both the sublime and the ridiculous, including plenty of stimulating diversion for the winter-weary gardener.



  • Garden Essentials -- including a few gotta-have tools
  • High-End Gifts -- we should all have such money
  • Downright Kitsch -- good, bad, and really ugly
  • Books and Magazines -- for armchair gardeners
  • Mail-Order Plants -- a handpicked bouquet of nurseries

    A Quick Caveat from Ketzel

    If you haven't a clue what the gardeners in your life want, get them gift certificates to their favorite nurseries (or mine). Trust me, you can stop right there. Otherwise, keep on scrolling, bearing in mind that I'm just the idea woman; the hard-core comparative price shopping is up to you.

    Garden Essentials

    This is an unpaid endorsement: Every gardener must have Felco pruners (the pair shown are from, never mind the price. I'm left-handed and swear by my #9; Horticulture Magazine swears by #7 ("swiveling ergonomic handles mean less wear and tear on your wrist"). Should you shop for them at Alice’s Garden Shop, don’t miss her hemp twine (ah, memories).

    After hand pruners, my second favorite tool is a pruning saw. I'm partial to the folding variety which can be tucked in a back pocket, though this may not be sturdy enough for all those seriously macho pruning jobs.

    Perennial Spade
    When it comes to digging, I cannot garden without a perennial spade (a.k.a. transplant or poacher's spade). It's perfect for popping out plants without leaving a trace of chaos behind. You can find them at Garden Talk, among other places, including better nurseries.

    Hand tools with easy grips are invaluable, including the Amish ball weeder, with a large round center that offers more leverage for arthritic hands. The market is now blessed with a considerable array of ergonomically-designed garden tools.

    Garden Boots
    Most practical gifts lack a sense of humor, but not these silly boots from Planet Outdoors. Admittedly, I prefer humorless Wellingtons, but even my sisters profess a weakness for the bees and the frogs.

    Frog Pants
    And what better accessory for your frog boots but frog pants? These Ultimate Goods gloves are said to keep you dry to the elbows, which can only be a good thing when mucking around on a cold, nasty day.

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    High End Gift Ideas

    Little and Lewis
    Garden art is a sometimes thing. Sometimes it's tacky, sometimes it's trendy, and every once in a while, it's timeless. I am completely besotted with everything produced by Little and Lewis (in the interest of disclosure, I should add that I am also besotted with them). These concrete hosta leaves are the smallest of their wares and the easiest to ship.

    Mr. Can Man
    One of the many whimsical creatures hatched whole from the mind of Haas Sculpture Studios. You can lose yourself for days at his website (and lose your shirt in no time at all). He has ample smaller pieces, but for my money, I'd save up for some of his wackier work.

    Guide Stone
    Stone is IN big time these days, whether as paving, patio or ornament, and these guide stones from Noble House and Garden (drilled for wiring or for candlelight) are some of the smarter commercial stone ornaments around. I'm partial to the black ones but they're a bit spendier than this "rustic" design.


    Banded Collana
    O.K., now we're getting serious. As astonishing as it seems, the artists at Lunaform out of Maine can and do ship their thousand-pound pots (though this gorgeous blue figure is a mere 250 pounds). Prices are breathtaking, but so is the work (it costs nothing to peruse the website, so be sure you do). I'd say this is about as good as giving gets...

    New Leaf Sculpture Gallery
    ...Unless you're ready to spend megabucks on fabulous garden sculpture, in which case, run, do not walk, to the New Leaf Sculpture Gallery. I spent a tantalizing hour at this Berkeley, CA. gallery drooling over its fountains, mobiles and furniture (I blamed it on the dog). Most of the work is beyond a public radio salary, but I have a strong hunch they're no strangers to layaway…


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    And Now for the Kitsch

    Lawn Doggie and Bathing Beauty

    Last year's heavy-breasted feline still takes the cake for the most awful and amazing gift I could find. Florida Plants also offers a canine companion named Lawn Doggy; I can assure you, my beagle is not amused. It's a tough choice for the kitsch-crazed gardener, unless...


    Giant Giraffe're into giant animals grazing in the garden! If that's the case, don't miss the menagerie at Places In The Yard. Their giant fiberglass creations includes cows, pigs, elephants and, yes, this 7' tall giraffe, a positively preposterous garden gift that can be yours for only $1995.00 (and that's no typo).


    Frog Slug Trap
    For a less ostentatious garden gift, Solutions Catalog offers this innocuous wide-mouthed frog. Fill his gullet with beer, and he becomes a veritable La Brea Tar Pit for slugs. Problem is, then you're faced with having to pry those beery, bloated slugs out from the frog's lips. Truth is, you're better off using Sluggo, made from iron phosphate and bait -- an effective if unloveable gift.

    Speaking of unloveable...

    Whimsical Face Birdhouse

    Forgive me, good people at Garden Art Studios, but this duck-billed birdhouse is just plumb ugly (so ugly it's kitsch? You decide). The sunflower gourd is considerably friendlier, but the best, bad birdhouses are off the hat rack at the Urban Gardener.


    Watering Can Twine Dispenser
    For the compulsively tidy gardener who has everything: A terra cotta Watering Can Twine Dispenser. Just the thing to hide that unsightly ball of twine. And for a stocking stuffer, consider a few rot-resistant Terra cotta Leaves. Use them for that "natural touch" on the picnic table or in the flower bed. You've got to hand it to the marketers: what a brilliant re-packaging of scrap clay.

    Mushroom Sprinkler
    Finally, another proven winner from last year's kitsch collection: Magic Mushroom Garden Statuary brings you fungi sprinkler heads! Friends of mine with reliably good taste find these 'shrooms irresistable.



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    See great ideas for armchair gardeners.

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