The best friend on earth of man is the tree: when we use the tree respectfully and economically we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.
It’s going to be a long, cold winter for the gardeners in your life. Help them get through it with one of these special Christmas gifts.
We’ve selected five that are sure to make them smile and look forward to spring with added enthusiasm!
Raised Gardening Beds
Raised beds have long been touted by amateur and professional gardeners alike for their many benefits. Such as reduced weeds, no tilling and higher yields.
Of course, they’re also much easier on the back. (See related article, “The Joys of Raised Bed Gardening.”)
Most raised bed kits available for purchase are made from cedar, but you can also find beds composed of galvanized steel, vinyl and composite materials.
And many of the kits are available with a host of extras, such as rollers for easy transport, built-in watering systems and pest protection. Prices range from about $80 for a 2′ by 8′ standard cedar bed, to more than $300.
But the most unique raised bed on the market has to be the Plant-a-Bar, offered by Gardener’s Supply Company of Burlington, Vermont. This butcher-block planter is made from reclaimed wood and attached to a cocktail bar. It received the Direct Gardening Association’s Green Thumb Award in 2017.
If you know someone who’s a serious gardener and composter, a compost tumbler would be a great (and unexpected!) gift. Typically made from recycled plastic, this ingenious little machine can cut months off of the composting process, while eliminating unsightly (and smelly) compost piles.
By turning the tumbler two or three times a week, microbes are mixed with the organic material and fresh supplies of oxygen are infused. The result is fresh, rich compost in much less time than traditional methods.
Commercial tumblers come in two types: horizontal and vertical. Sizes vary from large bins, capable of holding bushels of yard waste, to smaller barrels designed for back porch use. Some horizontal tumblers have cranks to facilitate turning.
Depending on capacity size, expect to spend $100 to $400 for a compost tumbler.
Potting benches provide a dedicated and comfortable workplace for your special gardener to take care of garden plants.
Bench styles run the gamut from very basic to including everything AND the kitchen sink! Be sure to choose your material carefully. For instance, PVC is easy to clean, but it’s not as durable as metal or treated wood. (Extreme temperatures can quickly wear it down.) On the other hand, a bench with a stainless steel work surface will last forever, but is a bit pricier.
If your gardener needs a lot of storage, several potting benches are available with multiple attached shelves or drawers. And we weren’t kidding about the kitchen sink — many bench styles include them. Add a faucet kit, and you can really simplify watering and clean-up.
A basic potting bench can cost $50 to $250, depending on size and materials. Large, efficient and decorative potting benches with lots of drawers, shelves, and a sink with running water, can run $500 to $1,200, depending on the quality of the wood.
Garden clogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, makes and models. But the cream of the crop has got to be Birkenstock. Long before there were Crocs, there were Birkenstock clogs.
(In fact, before the famous Birkenstock sandals became a staple for ’60s flower children, they were a favorite of soldiers returning from WWII.)
Advertised as “quite possibly the most comfortable garden clog on the planet,” the Birkenstock clogs are made of polyurethane, and are both water- and dirt-resistant.
But best of all, they provide the type of comfort people expect from Birkenstocks. The cork insole is ergonomically designed and has a breathable microfiber lining. These clogs are available in a variety of colors, but apple green is a favorite with gardeners.
Birkenstock garden clogs retail for about $80.
Looking for something a bit more extravagant? You can give the special gardener in your life the gift of time with a backyard greenhouse.
A greenhouse allows you to extend Wyoming’s rather short growing season, and provides a haven for flowers and exotic plants that would never survive a Wyoming winter.
If you’re a do-it-youselfer, you can build your own greenhouse.
Otherwise, you could consider hiring a contractor to build a custom greenhouse, the cost of which may exceed $50,000.
Or you can order a greenhouse kit from any number of manufacturers. Expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,500 for a small prefabricated kit — a simple metal structure with plastic panels, a roof window (to allow moisture and heat to escape) and a door.
Larger, more elaborate and/or more durable greenhouse kits can cost $3,000 to $15,000 or more, depending on size, style and materials. These kits offer extra features, such as a shade cover, misting system, additional vents or automatic vent openers.
Interested? Here are a few backyard greenhouse ideas: