Anyone who has raked anything knows the frustration of raking up debris in a garden bed or gravel path — then struggling to pick up the rakings while leaving the good soil or gravel behind.
Enter the Rake Assassin, a handy tool that doesn’t just rake but has strong enough tines to shovel up the debris while leaving the good stuff behind. $48.
MAKING GARDENING SEXY
“The Drunken Botanist” by Amy Stewart makes gardening sexy and, as one reviewer says, even a little dangerous, as with her 2009 treatise “Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities” and 2011 follow-up, “Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects.”
Her most recent best-seller, “The Drunken Botanist,” is a deep and often humorous dive into every plant that’s been wrung into something alcoholic. Indeed, she writes, “Around the world … there is not a tree or shrub or delicate wildflower that has not been harvested, brewed and bottled.” $15.
Any serious gardener is bound to be a connoisseur of weeding tools, since weeds are an omnipresent part of any garden and our quest to kill them is unending. The goal is to find a tool that doesn’t poison our precious organics but does the job with a minimum of fuss.
That’s why many gardeners and farmers praise this elegant and efficient Japanese tool: The Kusakichi Nejiri Scraper, a sort of short-handled hoe designed to scrape young weeds from the soil while providing a sharp edge to dig out stubborn roots. $16.
HERB DRYING RACK
Maybe once upon a time our kitchens had handy ledges for us to hang parsley, thyme and our other harvested herbs, but it’s not so easy in today’s sleek modern kitchens. Enter Gardener’s Supply Company’s handsome herb-drying rack, a powder-coated steel circle that only needs one hook to hold at least a half dozen good-sized bunches of herbs.
What better way to make a sleek modern kitchen feel homey and delicious. (The extra thoughtful gift giver can purchase three additional hooks for just $5 — and offer to install it as well). $20.
One of gardening’s biggest hassles is toting all the tools you need to do the job at hand. Many gardening tools are too tall or bulky to fit in a gardening bag or bucket, and then there’s the problem of not remembering where you last left your shovel or rake, when your hands were full carrying other items back to the garage.
Enter this brilliant Mobile Tool Storage Caddy by the Gardener’s Supply Co., which resembles a modified golf bag on wheels, designed with plenty of pockets and handles to carry tools of all sizes. There’s even a smaller bucket on the back to hold harvested produce or garden debris. $100.
NIGHTTIME IN THE GARDEN
Nighttime can be one of the most magical times to be in your garden, eating dinner or just relaxing with a beer, but garish overhead lighting can dim those special effects.
This Mission-style solar lantern — 10 inches square and 11 inches tall — will class up any outdoor table while providing just enough light to show off what you’re eating while maintaining the evening’s ambiance. $45 or two for $40 each.
FOR THE BIRDS
The mottled copper (or smooth berry) finish on these doughnut-shaped feeders make them attractive enough to install close to a window, so you can at least admire the simple, clean design when the birds aren’t feeding. Don’t expect it to be empty long, however.
Each feeder holds up to a cup of bird seed, and the open design makes it easy to admire who is visiting today. In rainy weather, one or two birds can even hop inside while they dine. $20, or 2 for $16.50 each.
FELCO GARDENING CLIPPERS
These Swiss-made clippers are the best choice for gardeners who grow roses and other flowers. They’re designed to cut and hold stems or branches until you can put them in a collection bin, eliminating the need to cut with one hand and grab with the other. This is particularly useful for rose bushes, when you don’t want to fish fallen flowers from thorny branches. $65.
OK, it’s a given that gardeners can never have enough hand clippers, but these sturdy, lightweight Felco F100 snips are perfect for precision trims, whether you’re manicuring your marijuana plant, pruning sucker branches from tomatoes or trimming the perfect bloom from a thicket of flowers.
The long, slender cutting head makes it useful indoors too when preparing flowers for the vase. $13.
Holsters have always been hip for gunslingers and business execs; now gardeners can up their coolness and efficiency with the Hip-Trug, a sleek bucket-like holster that lets gardeners weed, deadhead or harvest with both hands, while stuffing their bounty (or clippings) into the bucket attached to their waistband or belt.
Hip-Trugs are made by Burgon & Ball of England, a sister company to Southern California’s premiere garden tool maker Corona Tools, which is selling this unique gift on its U.S. website. (Joe Cool sunglasses not included.) $32.