Need some stocking stuffers that the gardeners on your holiday list will dig? Here are some ideas.
Pruning snips: The Softouch Micro-Tip Pruning Snip, about $13, is one of many superbly designed garden tools offered by the Fiskars company (Fiskars.com), established in Finland in 1649. With spring-action opening after each cut, comfortably soft plastic touch points on the handles that can be held in either hand, and precision-ground stainless steel blades, these lightweight, 6-inch snips been awarded the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation. A practical gift for indoor and outdoor gardening, they're easy to find with Fiskars' signature orange handles.
Magazine subscriptions: Magazines are an easy way to tailor gift-giving for individual interests. Present a note saying that a magazine subscription will start soon, along with a newsstand holiday edition of the publication enclosed in a stocking.
From the many choices, some favorites include Birds & Blooms for backyard habitat lovers ($20 for two years); Horticulture: The Art and Science of Smart Gardening for savvy gardeners keeping up with current trends and topics ($34.95 for two years); and the regionally-targeted Kentucky Gardener ($43.95 for two years). Many subscriptions come with free electronic editions or supplements.
Gloves: They run the gamut from plain brown polyester-cotton work gloves (about 79 cents at Kroger and many other places) to long, leather gauntlets with padded palms that rose growers will love for prick-free pruning ($44.50, women's sizes only, Duluthtrading.com). Safety glasses and knee pads also are just the right size for stockings.
Vintage vases: Scout out a few vintage and antiques shops for small containers, from funky pop-culture memorabilia to exquisitely hand-cut glass. Match your gardening buddies' interests and decor, and top it off with cut flowers or an indoor plant. They don't need to be expensive; I found a tiny gilded antique china pitcher, perfect for displaying freshly picked, short-stemmed flowers, for $10 at The Antique Store of Lexington, 436 Southland Drive.
Eucalyptus wrap: The scent of eucalyptus is refreshing and relaxing, especially when combined with rice and flax seed inside a microwaveable, chenille-covered pad tailored to rest around your neck and shoulders. Soothing, therapeutic warmth for weary gardeners, it can also be chilled for a cooling effect. The Gardener's Supply Co. catalog is packed with practical gardening aids and decorative items, including the Ultimate Eucalyptus Wrap ($34.95, Gardeners.com).
Calendars: The 2014 Flower Spirits engagement calendar is packed with images of flowers and leaf structures that photographer and radiology technologist Steven N. Meyers creates by using X-ray photography and digital coloration to reveal translucent layers of tantalizing and delicate features. It's a new way of looking at, or rather through, the beauty of plants ($15.99 for engagement calendar, $14.99 for wall calendar, $7.99 for mini calendar; RSVP.com).
Postage stamps: A most practical stocking stuffer is a sheet or booklet of postage stamps in one of the many garden-oriented issues available at your local post office or on line at USPS.com. Beautiful flowers are popular stamp subjects. Current issues of first-class Forever stamps, 46 cents each, include "Vintage Seed Packets," which portray 10 designs from antique seed packet labels printed in the early 1900s, including cosmos, calendula and zinnia; and "La Florida," which commemorates the 500th anniversary of Florida's naming with a cascading jumble of tropical blossoms: hibiscus, canna, morning glory and passionflower.
For nature lovers, a spicebush swallowtail butterfly adorns a 66-cent stamp. On the 58-cent pre-stamped first-class envelope, the image is of a bank swallow, the smallest of the North American swallows.
Ties, stakes and markers: Keeping floppy stalks upright with stakes and ties is a gardener's constant challenge. It's useful to have a roll or two of green garden twine on hand, and green metal stakes with small hoops at the top into which a stem can be slipped. The green color is inconspicuous against foliage. Metal plant tag labels are useful for marking where over-wintering perennials and bulbs lie.