The 2017 holiday season is upon us. It might seem a bit odd to think of gardening gifts when jingle bells are ringing and Santa Claus is at the mall, but you need to keep things in perspective: Your gardening friends and family don’t have an “off” button for their passion. A new pruner? To a gardener, that seems perfectly reasonable in December. Ditto for seed-starting supplies, leaf blowers and other gifts that won’t get use for a few more months.
Keeping that in mind, I’ve rounded up the best of the year’s horticultural holiday fare — and threw in some botanically inspired year-round items they’ll love, too.
To see more holiday gift guides, visit newsday.com/giftguides.
Faux Boxwood Garden Dogs
Although it's often frowned upon to gift a puppy without permission, the pet and garden lovers on your list won't complain after unwrapping these pooches. Covered in faux boxwood, the sturdy, wire-framed pets will stand guard at an entryway and add greenery as well as interest to your porch, walkway or patio. And as a bonus, they won't require walking.
PRICE: $69 to $169
MORE INFO: grandinroad.com
Midi Garden Metal Wind Spinner
You're never too old for a pinwheel, and this mesmerizing garden decoration is sure to put a smile on your face. Measuring 4 feet tall, this spinner's blades are adorned with faux jewels that sparkle as they catch sunlight. Colors are copper or multicolor.
MORE INFO: plowhearth.com
Prick Cacti and Succulents: Choosing, Styling, Caring
So 2017 was the year of cactuses, as their likenesses appeared on everything from T-shirts to throw pillows, and the darlings of the Millennial set showed up en masse as wedding favors, table decorations and houseplants. This book concerns itself with the latter, focusing on their use in home décor, as does the author's London retail shop, also called Prick. Leon provides profiles of dozens of plants in this clean, easy-to-digest book, and shares expert advice for growing and decorating with an array of these low-maintenance beauties. Gynelle Leon (Mitchell Beazley, $19.99)
Why grow a dog or cat Chia pet when you can grow a coifed, smiley, winky or heart-eyed Chia? A modern-day spin on the original ram from the 1970s, Chia Emoji sprouts within a week or two after its owner smears chia seeds over its water-soaked, grooved body. Keep it moist and trimmed (or not) and enjoy all the conversation the piece offers. Includes a drip tray and seed packets for three plantings.
PRICE: $7.99 to $14.68
MORE INFO: nwsdy.li/ChiaEmoji
Frankie the Frog Watering Can
Watering plants doesn't have to be a utilitarian chore. This powder-coated metal frog -- made by artisans in Bali -- adds a touch of whimsy to the job and holds a half gallon of water.
MORE INFO: uncommongoods.com
The Naturalist’s Notebook for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You
The premise here is that nature changes so gradually that most of us miss it. But what if we were to document our observations every day for five years? Would we notice shifts and trends that we'd otherwise miss? The author contends we would, and to prove it he's provided a five-year, day-by-day guide that he hopes will help readers pay closer attention. The bird watchers, gardeners, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts on your list will love this book and its mission. Nathaniel T. Wheelwright & Bernd Heinrich (Storey, $19.95)
Garden Guy and Girl Ornaments
Who says tree ornaments are only for the holidays? This pair of gardeners want to hang on your outdoor trees all year long. The wire copper sculptures, handmade in Asheville, North Carolina, are sold separately and measure 8½ inches tall and 4 inches wide.
PRICE: $58 each uncommongoods.com
MORE INFO: uncommongoods.com
Black + Decker Power Pruners
It took a few tries to fully get the hang of how these work, but once I understood the mechanism (keep one button pressed while engaging the other as needed), I was pruning like a pro. And when my work was done, my hand didn't ache, as often is the case after a session with manual pruners. The chromium-coated blades can handle limbs up to a half inch in diameter, and the lithium ion battery can hold a charge for up to 18 months. Available at Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Sears, Walmart and other hardware retailers.
PRICE: $99.99 msrp
MORE INFO: nwsdy.li/PowerPruner
‘Amazing Grace’ Wind Chimes
Handmade in Shokan in upstate New York, these chimes from Woodstock Chimes are more akin to musical instruments than yard decorations. The medium-size "Amazing Grace" chime has a midrange tone and is tuned to the opening measures of the well-known hymn. A removable wind-catcher is included for easy customization, and the chime comes with a lifetime tuning guarantee. Hang it from a porch, tree or stand to impart a peaceful outdoor vibe. Other sizes are available.
MORE INFO: chimes.com
"The Grumpy Gardener"
From Steve Bender, the garden editor of Southern Living magazine, comes this amusing -- but informative -- guide to plants, ranging from African violets to ZZs, some of which are bluntly characterized with "awful plants," "marijuana look-alikes" and other sometimes rude (to the plants) labels. Read between the sarcasm and wit, and you'll find solid tips for planting, growing and troubleshooting problems with your plants. (Oxmoor House, $25.99)