Christmas Gifts for Gardeners 2018

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!

Vegepod

Simon Holloway and Sarah Hamilton from Vegepod, pictured with the Vegepod container gardening system, inside the Grand Pavilion, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous!  This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you.  Vegepod is ideal for gardeners with back problems, as it eliminates the need to stoop or bend, while disabled gardeners can actually garden sitting in their wheelchair, facing forward, without the need to twist around.  Vegepod’s design benefits everyone, which is wonderful!  The Vegepod is self-watering, while the cover protects your plants from pests and light frosts.  If you’re renting or likely to move home, you can take your Vegepod with you.  I got my Vegepod this summer, I am so looking forward to gardening in my Vegepod in 2019!  You can see more pictures and find out more information in my review of the Vegepod.

Terrariums and bottle gardens

This BiOrbAir terrarium is a specialised, automated terrarium, which has adjustable humidity levels and adjustable fan settings, as well as LED lights, an ultra sonic misting unit, and automatic watering system. The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 9th April 2017.

My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 9th April 2017.

If you’re looking for a gift for an indoor gardener, you like to read my article about choosing easy to grow, free flowering orchids, or you might be interested to see my BiOrbAir terrariums and my indoor gardens.  Here’s a link to information about the features of the BiOrbAir terrarium, a specialised automated terrarium from Oase.  For the past three years I have been trialling plants inside the BiOrbAir terrarium, here’s a link to the first part of my Miniature Orchid Trial, my White Orchid Trial, and the first update on my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.

My miniature orchids being misted by the BiOrbAir’s ultra sonic misting unit.

This is my Rainforest Terrarium as pictured on the 2nd August 2018, inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis equestris ‘Aparri’ is in flower, and Aerangis calantha, Aerangis punctata, and Phalaenopsis lobbii are in bud.

This year I have installed a custom-built terrarium from RainforestVivs – my Rainforest Terrarium – I am thrilled with it!  In this article I explain the thinking behind my design for my Rainforest Terrarium.

See my simple, step-by-step instructions on how to plant beautiful terrariums and bottle gardens!

If you’re thinking about making a terrarium or bottle garden as a gift for a friend, neighbour, or relation, here’s my step-by-step guide to creating a bottle garden.  Here’s a link to my planting list for terrariums, vivariums, and bottle gardens, to help you if you’re thinking of setting up your own indoor garden.

Whether you garden indoors or outdoors, you might be interested to read how I track the temperature, light, and humidity levels inside my home, inside my terrariums, my glasshouse, and outdoors.

Garden Trugs

This trug is a daffodil trug from Trug Makers in East Sussex. This trug has been specifically designed for gathering flowers, the trug is long and shallow to avoid bending the flower stems, but it’s very versatile, it would also be ideal for gathering mushrooms, fruit, herbs, and vegetables.

This ‘Daffodil Trug’ was made by Kevin Skinner from Trug Makers in Hailsham, East Sussex. Kevin sent me this trug in 2015, I have really enjoyed using this trug over the past three years. The Daffodil Trug has a flat base, making it a great choice of trug for harvesting cut flowers, but this trug works just as well for harvesting fruit and vegetables.

When Trug Maker Kevin Skinner heard that I had included his No. 7 Trug in my 2015 recommended Christmas gifts, he kindly offered to make me a complimentary trug of my choice.  I love growing cut flowers, so I chose the Trug Makers Daffodil Trug.  Over the past three years, this rather lovely trug has helped to harvest cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs, I love it!  If you’d like to read my review of the Trug Makers Daffodil Trug, please click here.

This trug is a daffodil trug from Trug Makers in East Sussex. This trug has been specifically designed for gathering flowers, the trug is long and shallow to avoid bending the flower stems, but it’s very versatile, it would also be ideal for gathering mushrooms, soft fruit, and vegetables.

Seedlip

Seedlip is blended and bottled in England.

This is a gift pack features two of the three non-alcoholic distilled spirits in the Seedlip range. This set features one bottle of Seedlip Spice 94 and one bottle of Seedlip Garden 108. Seedlip produce another non-alcoholic distilled spirit – Citrus 42.

If you’re looking for a special gift for a tea-total friend or relation, you may be interested to hear about Seedlip, a range of distilled non-alcoholic spirits, which contain no sugar, sweetener, or calories.  Seedlip is suitable for the following diets: vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, and diabetic.  Seedlip is free from most allergens, including: gluten, wheat, oat, barley, spelt, kamut, peanuts, soybeans, milk, lactose, eggs, crustaceans, fish, nuts, celery, mustard, lupin, and sesame.  You can find out more about Seedlip non-alcoholic distilled spirits, in my review here.

Seedlip is a distilled non-alcoholic spirit, it’s a new option for anyone looking who wishes to avoid alcoholic or sugary drinks, but is looking for a celebratory glass of something special.

Membership of a local gardening club or horticultural society

There are many gardening societies in the Surrey area, where you can learn more about gardening and make new friends.

I am proud to be a member of a number of Surrey horticultural societies.  Membership of a horticultural society is a great gift idea, you could help to introduce your gift recipient to a lovely new group of friends and widen their gardening knowledge in the process.  There are many great local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey, if you’re looking for a society that meets near you, or a friend or relation, visit www.surreyhorticulturalfederation.org for information about local horticultural societies and their talks and events.

Tickets to Nick Bailey’s talk to the Surrey Horticultural Federation

The Surrey Horticultural Federation are hosting a special afternoon talk with Gardeners’ World presenter Nick Bailey.  Nick will be giving his new talk entitled, ‘Revive your Garden’, at 2.30pm, on Sunday 10th March 2019, at Normandy Village Hall, Manor Fruit Farm, Glaziers Lane, Normandy, GU3 2DE.  Tickets are limited and available in advance.  Ticket prices: £7.50 for members of affiliated societies, £10 for non-members, any unsold tickets will all be £10 on the door.  Please enclose a stamped envelope, marked with your address, with a cheque payable to Surrey Horticultural Federation and post to SHF Secretary, Redleaf Nursery, Green Lane, Tilford, Farnham, GU10 2AP.

Tickets to Barry Newman’s talk on Growing Vegetables, Fruit, and Herbs in Containers for the National Vegetable Society

The National Vegetable Society are hosting a very special evening with Vegetable Expert Barry Newman.  Barry Newman will give a talk entitled ‘Growing in Containers’ providing advice for all aspects of growing vegetables, fruit, and herbs in containers, covering growing mediums, varieties, and cultural instructions, at 8pm, on Wednesday 14th March 2018, at East Horsley Village Hall, Kingston Avenue, East Horsley, Leatherhead, KT24 8QT.  Entrance is free for NVS members.  Tickets are £1 for members of affiliated societies, £2 for RHS students, and £5 for all other visitors.  Please post an SAE (stamped envelope, marked with your address), together with a cheque for your tickets, made payable to the National Vegetable Society Surrey District Association to NVS Treasurer, 1 Oakfields, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6RZ.

Dalefoot Composts

Simon Bland of Dalefoot Composts, pictured with Dalefoot Composts stand, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.

Dalefoot Composts produce a range of peat free, wool based composts that require less watering than regular composts.  Dalefoot Composts have won my Compost Trials for the past five years in a row, so I can highly recommend them!  Dalefoot Compost is delivered to homes across the UK, making it a super gift for a friend or relation who is unable to collect bags of compost from the garden centre themselves.  If you’d like to see my Compost Trial Reports, you’ll find them all here.

Gardening Books

I’ve read some interesting and informative books this year, including three books by Jeff Lowenfels, that would make an excellent choice for anyone wishing to learn more about plant science and horticulture:

While Tony Kirkham and George E Brown’s excellent book, Essential Pruning Techniques for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers (ISBN:978-1-60469-288-4) is an outstanding resource with beautiful photographs by Andrea Jones – you can read my review here.  All four books are published by Timber Press.

This informative book, Essential Pruning Techniques for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers, by George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham, with photographs by Andrea Jones, is published by Timber Press.

These are some of my recommended Christmas Gifts for Gardeners. Vegepod is a specially developed raised bed for growing vegetables that creates an accessible container garden that can be used in small spaces, and above paving or tarmac. My 2018 recommended books are all from Timber Press – the excellent Essential Pruning Techniques by George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham, While I have chosen Teaming with Nutrients and Teaming with Fungi by Jeff Lowenfels, and Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis as this is a great set of books for anyone looking to learn more about horticulture. Seedlip non-alcoholic distilled spirits contain no sugar or calories, these drinks are vegan and free from gluten, wheat, barley, oats, and other allergens.

Garden Membership

The Palm House at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Garden membership makes a super gift, you’ll find a list of Surrey, Hampshire, and West Sussex Gardens which offer membership herePlant Heritage hold regular meetings and talks for their members in Cobham.  While membership of Plantlife contributes to a plant conservation charity that works to protect wild flowers and the British countryside.

The restoration of Kew Garden’s Temperate House was completed this year, so this glasshouse – the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, it’s twice the size of Kew’s Palm House – is now open to the public every day of the year apart from the 24th and 25th December.  If you’d like to read about the restoration of the Temperate House, please click here.

A tapestry of brightly coloured Tulips along Cherry Walk, line the path to the newly restored Temperate House, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Don’t forget

Presents are lovely, but true friendship and time spent together are priceless.  I hope that you’ll enjoy a magical Christmas, may all your gardening dreams come true in 2019!  Merry Christmas to you all. xx

I have been trialling and testing all manner of products to help you to find, interesting, useful, and fun gifts for your friends and family this Christmas.

This article was first published in the December 2018 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.

Other articles that may interest you……………………

To see a list of all of my gift ideas and product reviews, please click here.

To read my recommended list of 2017 Gifts for Gardeners, please click here.

To read my recommended list of 2016 Gifts for Gardeners, please click here.

To read my recommended list of 2015 Gifts for Gardeners, please click here.

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