Practical Presents for the Gardener at Christmas.

Items on display at home.

Dear Fellow Readers, As you know I don’t get the chance to write that often as you’ll find me working outside doing rather saying. To be honest it’s the best place. At the moment every single daylight hour is spent prepping the gardens I care for for the seasons ahead, whether it be pruning up ladders or planting bulbs on my knees. The posts I do on social media are an online diary of what I’ve achieved in that day, obviously with GDPR legislation permitting. I don’t advertise products or freebies but I believe in truth. I currently look at Instagram and its full of giveaways, trending and influencers who are trying to get as many followers as possible and think oh my. What ever happened to quality over quantity? Reality amongst the cropping? It can make you feel overwhelmed and thoughts and plans become unrealistic. Why doesn’t my garden look like that? Believe me, beyond the posts you see is a uncropped image of to do and unstaged reality.

Christmas gifts for gardeners are posts I see often or not in publications. Gardeners wearing expensive clothes and gadgets and tools so expensive, you wouldn’t dare touch them in case they snag or break. That and brands that have become to fashionable their quality is not the same as it used to be. I shall mention no names. However, that aside, I would like to share a few things I think are missed off these Christmas lists that will not break the bank and are used by me on a regular basis. So here goes… Rocky’s practical gifts for gardeners:

Decent Garden Twine. I’ve always used Nutscene. It comes in various colours and plys. Use a 5 ply on those very strong stems and a 3 ply for most tying in needs. This three pack was a given as part of an order last year hence in its packaging. I’m about to place another order soon. Maybe one in a tin to stop it getting tangled. <£5

Head torch. Last Christmas my dear friend Emily got me a head torch for Christmas after having issues with previous ones failing. I once had one give up on me hiking up a volcano in Panama at night! We survive to tell the tale but this Petzl Actik Core is great for finishing off tasks and tidying up when the light goes in November and December. You can get a rechargeable USB battery too. £30+

Wall Paper Scraper. Ever struggle to remove Ivy or Virginia Creeper off masonry or fences. Well this is the tool for you. <£5

Crean Mate. In English this should be Clean Mate. It’s spelt like that because Japanese struggle to pronounce the letter r, so it sounds like l. Trust me I’ve worked with Japanese colleagues in the past and my name always sounds like Locky rather than Rocky. It’s the best thing for cleaning all your metal tools from secateurs to shears and even the taps on sinks! This I purchased many moons ago from Niwaki. £15

Felco Diamond Sharpening stone. I have different whetstones but this is my stone of choice for sharpening my secateurs on the go as you don’t need water and it fits in your pocket easily. £20+

A decent pencil and sharpener. There is nothing like having a decent sharp pencil handy. I carry a sharpener with me at all times now as I’ve been caught out in numerous occasions and marker pens just smudge and fade on labels. <£5

Gardening gauntlets. I still use my original Goldleaf tough touch gauntlets. They are great for brambles and roses and thorny stuff in general. I strip roses with ease. I seem to take them off to tie in roses still as I find tying in a fiddly subject. These are a new pair I purchased this year as my old faithfuls are just starting to wear at the tips after many years of service. Maybe I might cut the finger tips off the old ones now and see how I get on with tying in now. It might save more skin in the process. £26

Hand lens. This magnifying hand lens was purchased from Amazon. Yes I’m sorry but where can you buy these in any horticultural establishment? It is great for identifying pests and diseases and looking up close to those beautiful intricate details of your beloved plants. I attached Nutscene neon twine in lime green to allow me to place it around my neck so I don’t lose it! £15

So there you go. I hope you find these suggestions more practical and less breaking the bank than those suggested in the media.

So Happy Christmas. Stay safe and keep planting bulbs in the fog. For the planting now will bring much needed joy in the seasons ahead. Love, Rocky x