To shop for a gardener, think like a gardener


Gardeners don't take the winter off. The gardens may be dormant, but those who tend them never are.

If they are not outside on a mild day, gardeners are indoors, reading their seed catalogs or making entries in their journals and garden diagrams -- the homework of gardening.

So, it makes sense to remember the gardener at Christmas, because she hasn't forgotten her garden.

Here are some suggestions.

For the gardener who finds any excuse to work outdoors, even in winter, Bionic Gloves ($40) will protect hands. Developed by a hand surgeon and manufactured by the makers of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat, these gardening gloves combine flexibility with protection and comfort. (; 888-472-3266)

There is nothing more sensible than a good pair of boots, and L.L. Bean makes the best boots for winter weather. Choose from the ankle-high insulated Gumshoe ($59 to $69) or the wool-lined Zip Boot ($89). (; 800-221-4221)

Felco set the standard in pruners, but Smith & Hawken has introduced a new pair it hopes will rival the longtime favorite. The blade is replaceable, a sap groove keeps it clean and a wire-cutting notch makes it versatile. It also has a patented oiler bolt that provides lubrication. ($44; leather holster $10) (www.smith-hawken. com; 800-940-1170)

Gardeners will appreciate the practicality of such gifts, but they are not without an equal appreciation for style or whimsy.

If a Christmas-blooming amaryllis seems too predictable, why not a sequoia? Plow & Hearth offers the giant redwood in seedling form for $24.95. It can be grown indoors -- up to a certain point, of course -- and comes with instructions. (www.plowand; 800-627-1712)

Smith & Hawken offers ducks hand-carved of recycled teak and bamboo root ($59 each or three for $149). For the garden or indoors, these ducks are painted in green, black or white and yet have a weathered look. No two are alike, and each comes with its own wooden name tag. (; 800-940-1170)

Donna Durian, an editor at Garden Design who put together a list of the top garden gift shops for the holiday issue of the magazine, said her favorite gift among the many she saw is a trio of rubber cubes planted with moss from Winston Flowers in Newton, Mass. ($12, $15 and $20; www.; 800-457-4901)

"A great innovation in planters. And moss is very contemporary right now," she said.

Outdoor living means outdoor furniture, and People, Places & Plants writer Laura Eisener found craftsman Dennis Campbell of the Twigg Shoppe in East Templeton, Mass., who makes furniture out of branches, barn boards, beaver-gnawed bark and canoe paddles. (www.thetwigg; 978-632-7986)

She also discovered a company that makes musical instruments -- and wind chimes that are as beautiful to look at as they are to hear. Woodstock Percussion of Shokan, N.Y., creates chimes out of ash wood, crystal and brass bells and tunes each element so it vibrates pleasingly with the others. Some of the chimes are tuned to recall hymns. Prices range from $18.95 to several hundred dollars. Visit the Web site,, to find a local retailer.

Gardeners often have a soft spot for the birds that keep them company in the yard, and Gardener's Supply Co. offers a unique perspective on the feathered companions -- a birdhouse with a built-in infrared camera that sends video of nesting birds into your house. ($125)

The camera works day or night. Simply unroll the 100-foot cable and attach it to your TV or computer. (; 800-427-3363)

Gardener's Supply is the place to shop for a variety of gardening gifts: Everything from the classic Vermont garden cart ($295 or $345), rated the best by Consumer Reports, to mushroom growing kits, which spokesman Maree Gaetani said are wildly popular this year ($24.95 to $34.95.)

But when in doubt, she said, gift-givers can choose Gardener's Supply's No. 1 selling Christmas gift -- a composter ($69.95-$199.95).

It would have to be a special person to be thrilled to find such a gift under the Christmas tree. And that person would probably be a gardener.

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