Need to find a gift for a garden nerd? These are some of my top picks for gardeners including tools, gear, books, and more. We often don’t need much for the garden but having the best tools for the job is always welcome.
Click here for more gift ideas from my favorites on Etsy.
Gift Ideas for Gardeners
We’re calling this guide, essential gifts for garden nerds, because garden nerds are a special group. We like practical stuff we can really use.
Before we dive into the list, let’s establish the ground rules. Gardeners love plants. Some love garden art. Good compost is gold for the garden. And many dream of having a good-size greenhouse. If you can fulfill any of those wishes, you will have one-delighted gardener on your hands. And what’s better than that?
Now, onto the list.
During the past year I made a note of the things that really work for me. Things I wouldn’t want to go without. My own essentials made the list plus a few indulgent extras, as you’ll see.
It was not my intention but everything on the list is also quite reasonably priced.
Whether you are looking for yourself or a gardener on your list, I hope you will find ideas you like.
1Garden Gloves That Last
Each year I go through anywhere from 6 to 12 pairs of garden gloves. This year, Watson Gloves celebrated their 100th year in business and sent me two pairs of these gloves. One with short cuffs and the other with long cuffs as you see in the photo.
I switched between both pairs all summer long and…drumroll please…they are still in excellent shape.
And I didn’t just work in the garden. I also wore them when building a giant privacy wall, a lean-to greenhouse, a garden gate, and a dozen other projects. They were definitely put to the test.
These gloves are tough but comfortable, and they don’t make my hands sweaty.
And, by the looks of them, I will likely get several more garden seasons out of them.
Watson Perfect 10 Garden Gloves on Amazon
2Plant Propagation Bible
If you love plants, and want a lot of them, there’s probably some propagation in your future. It seems so daunting at first, but eventually a little light bulb goes on and we realize, hey, if plant nurseries are knocking out millions of these things each year, certainly we can grow our own new plants at home with similar methods!
I have a few old favorite plant propagation books. Look for one that has illustrations that make sense to you, and a variety of instructions for the plants you grow.
Propagating Plants: Revised Edition on Amazon
3Plant Propagation Tool
One of the easiest ways to propagate many types of plants is from cuttings, which makes a clone of the original plant.
I first started using scalpels for quilt-making (they are very good, fine seam rippers), and then I started using them for plant cuttings. I like a reusable handle and extra blades (#11), rather than a disposable plastic unit. And the super fine cuts mean there is minimal damage to the plant tissue.
Scalpel and Blades on Amazon
When we water plants, it’s really the soil (and plant roots) we want to reach. A long-handled water wand makes it much easier to get under the bottom leaves and aim the water directly where you want it.
Look for one like this Dramm model that has an easy-to-move thumb control for on-off action.
Water Wand on Amazon
No, I’m not suggesting you clean your garden!
This summer I discovered that our home steam cleaner works beautifully to kill the weeds growing between the bricks of our driveway and garden paths.
You can see How to Kill Weeds With a Steam Machine here.
You may not want one just for this purpose, but it is a bonus use for it. I refuse to ever use poisons or herbicides, so I was delighted to find steam works just fine with minimal effort.
I’ve also test a pressure washer for weed removal between bricks and it’s messy but works fine too.
Steam Cleaner on Amazon
6Dolly Hand Truck
When I built our large in-ground pond, I had to move heavy rocks—some of them weighing 100+ pounds—from the front of our home into the back garden and down into the pond to form the walls.
The hand truck made it so easy. There was no heavy-lifting. Just some light pushing and turning.
The other good use is for moving large flower pots around. It’s a total back-saver.
I also use it to move large bags of composted manure. And, should we ever move house again, we’ll use it for that too. Well worth the purchase!
Dolly Hand Truck on Amazon
7Forever Plant Tags
It’s never easy to find a plant tag or marker that is both long-lasting and nice-looking. But, if you want something that lasts for years (and years), this system works.
I use both stainless steel (special mail order-they are the best) and zinc plant tags (Amazon), and a label maker with permanent, waterproof tape. I’ve had some of these tags in my garden for years now (all year-round) and there is no sign of wear.
Zinc Plant Tags on Amazon
I don’t know if I’d buy the label maker just for this purpose, but if you will be using it for labeling other stuff, it’s probably worth it.
Buy outdoor, waterproof tape and use them on stainless steel or zinc plant markers. They will last forever. Okay, a long, long time.
Label Maker on Amazon
9Permanent Pens (Really)
If you have tried regular Sharpie permanent markers for labeling plant tags in the garden, you know they are not truly permanent. Over time, they fade in the sun.
These oil paint markers are the best option. I did side-by-side marker tests and they do not fade or change, even through snow, rain, and anything else the weather throws at them.
Oil Paint Pens at Amazon
No batteries required!
These simple meters respond to the amount of moisture in the soil and let you know if it’s time to water.
They are particularly useful for houseplants, outdoor container plants, and in a greenhouse where it can be hard to tell by sight if the soil is drying out.
Moisture Meters on Amazon
11Mobile Phone Camera Lenses
Much of my time in the garden is spent, well, just watching and listening. And taking photos and video.
I got a set of these cheap camera lenses for mobile phones and they have been a lot of fun.
The set comes with a clip and you switch out the lenses. The clip fits right over your phone, with the external lens covering the built-in phone lens.
The types of lenses will depend on the set you choose. I like the macro lens for closeups of insects, the fisheye lens for fun effects, and the wide-angle lens to get wide pictures. Mine also came with a Bluetooth remote control which is handy when you’ve lined up the shot and don’t want to disturb it by touching the camera shutter button.
12Retractable Hose Reel
If you water a garden, you know how annoying water hoses can be. They tangle. They crush plants. They can be heavy. And, you have to tidy the whole thing up after each watering session.
I do not have one of these reels, but I do fantasize about them every time I water! If they work according to plan, at least part of the task is easier.
If you get one, be mindful of the length and diameter of the hose it uses to be sure it suits your needs.
Retractable Hose Reel on Amazon
13Digital Kitchen Thermometer
I love it when a gadget has multiple uses. When I started paying attention to optimum soil planting temperatures, I discovered that my digital kitchen thermometer (with a probe) measures soil temperatures accurately.
This is particularly handy in spring when you’re eager to get the early veggie crops in but don’t want to sow too early. Once soil temperatures are 50°F | 10°C or more (consistently), I’m cracking open the pea seeds.
Digital Kitchen Thermometer on Amazon
14Pond Heater (De-Icer)
If you want the plants and wildlife in your pond to survive the winter, you have to keep the water flowing. In addition to running recirculating pumps, I use pond heaters, also called de-icers. It’s the same gizmo used to keep water liquid in livestock water troughs in freezing weather.
All you do is plug them in and they generate enough heat to prevent the surrounding water from freezing. Read the specs before you buy one to see the electrical consumption (they vary quite a bit between models), and how low a temperature they can withstand.
Pond Heater (De-Icer) at Amazon
15Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song
When you become a gardener, no one mentions that you’ll probably also become a birder. Or, at minimum, a bird lover. The two just go together!
Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song is an encyclopedia of birds that comes with a bird song player. Just press in the corresponding number and listen to a recording of that bird. It’s fun and very helpful for identifying the birds in your garden.
While adult gardeners will enjoy this, I can think of a few bird-loving children who would also love it.
16Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife
If I could only have one garden tool, it would be this one. I use it for all sorts of things: weeding, trimming, digging (small holes)…. I used to call the Billhook my fave, but once I started using this knife, I found I use it even more.
I received this one from Fiskars. It’s lightweight, the handle has a nice grip, and it’s just a good, multi-purpose tool. There are much more expensive versions of this sort of knife, but I see no need to spend so much when this one works so well.
Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife on Amazon
17Fiskars Kangaroo Container
This is one of those things that I would have never thought to get on my own, but Fiskars sent me a sample one and—holy cow—they are so useful.
I use mine for weeding and gathering debris. The container is lightweight yet strong enough to hold a lot of stuff. The handles are well-placed both for lifting and dumping. And the whole thing folds down so it’s easy to store.
Absolutely one of my favorite gardening tools!
Fiskars Kangaroo Container at Amazon
18Wear Your Love of Gardening
Whether you like them sweet, funny, or salty, there’s t-shirts and hoodies for every type of gardener.
See our one-of-a-kind designs:
Truth be told, many gardeners like complete control over their gardens, and this includes everything from tools to plants.
And that’s where gift certificates for gardeners may be the right choice.
Plants. Seeds. A delivery of beautiful composted manure. It’s all good!
Offering help in the garden is a wonderful gift.
The last item on the list is help. Gardening is a lifelong love affair, but, as we get older, many of the tasks get harder to do.
The gift of help is a good one. If you can offer it, great. Or, perhaps you can hire someone. Either way, an un-opinionated helper with a great attitude and willingness to work is a gift any gardener would welcome.
And that’s it! I hope you’ve found some ideas to run with. We garden nerds are easy-to-please once you realize we’re practically perfect.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛