Christmas Gifts for Gardeners


I was on CBC’s Fresh Air with Karen Gordon this morning and here’s what we discussed:

* Gardener’s Handscrub from Crabtree & Evelyn which you can find at any decent dept. store.  The scrub makes your hands feel soft as well as clean. Around $20

* O’Keefe’s Working Hands  hand cream and Healthy Feet foot cream. Not oily, Feels good. Can find at a big box hardware chain $8 or at

* Trowel from Sophie Conran (daughter of Terance Conran who began the great design revolution in England.  I got mine at which carries the whole line. I tell ya they are stunning, gorgeous and so is the packaging.   Great egonomics and very well made. $30 and up. I can remember when an English garden tool of this quality would cost three times as much.  They last forever if my tools are any indication.

* Harrowsmiths Truly Canadian Almanac 2013. Like old Farmer’s Almanac, Weather predictions plus lots of neat essays including one by me.  And if you want to know about winter 2013:  well bleak but milder.  It’s my totally fave bathroom book. And for $6 you can learn a lot more than you need to know about cluster flies.

* get gift certificates of your own making from the following great places: This photograph is of a new clematis called ‘Princess Kate’ it’s a beauty and you’ll find incredible stuff on their web site. Will mail. is where I got the Sophie Conran tools but they have a lot of good stuff for gardeners. Excellent service.   for plants bulbs  for fascinating new plants which they will mail out. lots of garden tschockes has mass of magnificent native plant seeds. You need every one from your area.

Here are some well-written books which would make anyone happy to read:

Liz Primeau’s  In Pursuit Of Garlic, Greystone $16.95 is lovely combination of memoir, history and lots of practical advice about garlic.

Sonia Day.  The Untamed Garden: a Revealing Look at our Love Affair with Plants.  $26. It’s funny and beautifully designed.  Won the Garden Writers of America Gold Award and fully deserved it.

Year-round Vegetable Gardening  Niki Jabour  it is bar-none my favourite vegetable book. Really informative and there a vidoe on the Globe and Mail’s on-line videos (tons of them on there). So have a look at it. Niki’s book  is $18 or $20 depending on where you find it.

> Canadian  Biodiversity Treasure Official Plant Emblems of Canada. It’s a big book, and filled with wonderful information about our native plants (and some not so native). I like the anecdotal style, good photos and deep information about some of our finest plants. $50  From

* Toronto Botanical Gardens membership—I’m not big on getting an announcement saying a donation has been made in your name….I actually like getting something which is what you can do my buying a membership at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. For $65 you can buy a family membership and help support one of the finest horticultural institutions in the country.  They also have a great shop filled with great items.

* Your corner store has lots of things for the gardener. I bought some of those miniature evergreens (and evergrold) to decorate the table a few years ago and it turned into a bonanaza. I planted one of the dward blue junipers I used once the soil thawed out. It’s now about 9 feet tall and still a beauty. Now there’s a gift for a gardener.

* Check out your  local florist,. Ask if they have any interesting plants they’re going to rip apart. You might find a really interesting fern that a gardener will dote on.

* Check out  your local nursery this weekend—clear out time on decorations.  Remember just stick a ribbon on a bag of compost and a gardener like me whom you think  has everything and you will get a big blessing. I was over at Fiesta Gardens a few days ago and they are going to sell all their Christmas stuff off for $2 on Sunday. So it’s worth the trip to 200 Christie Street if you’re in Toronto.


And if you go get a poinsettia remember the following:

Place in a room where there is bright natural light but not where the sun

will shine directly on the plant.

Keep the plant out of drafts and away from cats and kids (poisonous).  Water

thoroughly but don’t overwater.

The bright colour of the bracts (the red things) will remain longer if

temperatures do not exceed 22C.

Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and I promise to be a better blogger in what’s going to be a great NEW YEAR.