Christmas gifts for gardeners
PUBLISHED: 13:30 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 13:31 05 December 2016
With the help of gardeners from across Essex and elsewhere, Philippa Pearson seeks out the best gardening gifts to give to your horticultural friends and family this festive season
RHS Hyde Hall Garden
Liz Brown, manager of the gift shop at RHS Hyde Hall Garden near Chelmsford, has chosen some of her favourite gifts for gardening friends. Burgon & Ball have created a collection of gardening tools and sundries using iconic imagery from the RHS Lindley Library. The Flora and Fauna range in the collection combines sturdy and practical tools with elegant designs.
‘It’s a beautiful range of garden accessories ideal for both garden and wildlife lovers,’ says Liz, who especially loves the Kneelo kneeler, wooden plant labels and Twine in a Tin. Another of Liz’s top gifts for those who like to spend time out in the garden in the winter months is the robust Gold Leaf Winter Touch Garden Gloves. ‘These are a seriously hardwearing pair of gloves,’ says Liz, ‘perfect for winter as they will keep your hands both warm and dry.’
If you know someone who keeps losing their tools in the garden, the Burgon & Ball FloraBrite range, endorsed by the RHS, make perfect presents. ‘What a brilliant idea!’ says Liz. ‘These new fluorescent hand tools will ensure you’ll never lose something in the garden again.’ The range is available in fluorescent yellow or fluorescent pink, and the designs include reflective highlights that glow under torchlight.
For details of opening hours at the shop and garden, plus information on a range of events at RHS Hyde Hall Garden over the Christmas season, including a Christmas Gift Fair on December 3 and 4 and a Heart-Shaped Wreath workshop on December 9.
The Beth Chatto Gardens
Julia Boulton, Beth’s Chatto’s granddaughter and now managing director of The Beth Chatto Gardens, has chosen some fabulous gifts for gardening enthusiasts.
‘For me, I want to be reminded of the glory of gardens all year round,’ Julia says, ‘and so I have to be slightly biased and say I’d recommend garden pictures. I’m really pleased with the photographs in our calendar this year as I feel they portray the character and vitality of the Beth Chatto Gardens.’
There’s also a special Christmas gift set which includes the calendar along with Beth Chatto soap, jute bag, car sticker, fridge magnet, seed packets and garden entrance tickets.
‘I really like the Beth Chatto hand cream too,’ Julia says. ‘It has been specifically developed for gardeners and is very good for soothing hardworking hands.’ You can buy the hand cream on its own, as a perfect stocking filler, or as part of a gift set with gardener’s soap and a nail brush. Julia also recommends buying bulbs for presents.
‘You can’t go far wrong with alliums. They make a thoughtful gift that will always be appreciated by a gardener, or anyone who enjoys the sight of these in late spring.’
You can buy items at the Gift Shop, at the garden or online at
www.bethchatto.co.uk/sundries-and-gifts. Check the website for opening times and events including Christmas Carols on December 21 and Crafty Christmas Creations for children on December 23.
Seeds make lovely gifts for gardeners and there’s so much choice available for unusual vegetable and flower varieties. Sarah Raven’s Really Good Cut Flower Seed Collection has 13 different easy to grow seed varieties, all perfect for cut flowers and presented in a pretty tin, while the 15 different seed packets in her Year Round Vegetable Seed Collection tin will produce harvests from early spring to late autumn.
Sarah has picked her favourite tomatoes (grown and trialled for years) with good flavour for salads, sauces and soups in her Best Tomato and Basil Seed collection tin, which also contains recipes. For something more personal and a thoughtful gift that can be given all year round, I love the Sarah Raven Seed Gift Cards, which have a packet of cut flower seeds. Select from a choice on a blank card with a beautiful image by top garden photographer Jonathan Buckley.
You can buy all these collections from Sarah’s website at www.sarahraven.com and items can be gift wrapped for you.
For the avid vegetable growers in your life, gather some unusual seed packets together for a gift from the oldest family-run seed company in the world, Franchi’s Seeds of Italy.
There’s an exceptional choice and range of regional Italian seed varieties and all perform brilliantly in the UK. Franchi is passionate about the provenance and regionality of its seeds and the range is outstanding – there are more than 34 different varieties of tomato seed available, the best range of peas and beans I’ve ever come across, and an inspiring range of lettuce and salad leaves.
Select your choices online from the Seeds of Italy range at www.seedsofitaly.com