It isn’t always easy to find great gardening-inspired gifts that won’t seem out of place during the off-season, but these unique items are sure to get two green thumbs up.
FUN AND USEFUL
Mystic garden kneeler and potting gloves. This beautiful set features an acanthus leaf and floral design based on an original wallpaper print from the William Morris archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Classy, yes, but functional as well, featuring gloves with elasticized wrists to keep dirt out and a kneeler with a water-resistant coating, foam interior and a carrying handle; $49.95 at williams-sonoma.com
Shiitake log. This hand-cut, 12-inch, spore-inoculated log will produce for a minimum of two years, providing you with a fun pastime and a delicious ingredient to use in stir-fries, soups, stews, pastas or omelets. Just soak the log in water for 24 hours, mist occasionally and await your crop; $33 at 2funguys.com.
Deluxe bonsai starter kit. There’s no better time to take up a hobby that for centuries has been valued as a stress reliever and path to inner peace. This bonsai kit includes everything to get you started: reusable posts, drip trays, one vial of seeds for each of four tree species (Rocky Mountain Pine, Royal Poinciana, Blue Jacaranda and Norway Spruce), nutrient-rich soil discs, a moisture meter, bamboo plant markers and step-by-step instructions; $32.99 at theplanterschoice.com.
Blown-glass Christmas ornaments. These quality ornaments are sure to delight gardeners for years to come. What green thumb wouldn’t want a wheelbarrow, planted whiskey barrel, a pair of hand pruners or tomato to hang on the tree? $11.99-19.99 at oldworldchristmas.com.
Paper Flowers stationery. Featuring the art of 18th-century British artist Mary Delany, who painstakingly crafted botanical images by cutting and layering tiny pieces of paper on black-ink backgrounds, these simple-yet-elegant note cards will lure you from your keyboard to put pen to paper. Recipients will be impressed with the striking (and scientifically accurate) depictions of 12 flowers, including sunflowers, rhododendrons, cornflowers and water lilies, on high-quality, textured paper; $16.95 at papress.com.
FOR BUDDING GREEN THUMBS
Miyabi board game. Outdoor gardening goes on hiatus over winter, but you can keep yourself (and the kids) engaged — and away from technology — with this high-quality, German-made board game. The goal is to design a Japanese garden with “miyabi” (or elegance) by placing and stacking stone, bush, tree, pond and pagoda tiles. Play is calm and peaceful, but it requires strategy and skill. For 2 to 4 players (age 8 and up); $39.99 at habausa.com.
FOR WILDLIFE LOVERS
Squirrel-resistant bird feeder. Birds can easily access seeds from both sides of this charming galvanized-steel feeder, but the weight-activated perch blocks access to squirrels that hop on board. Clear sides make it easy to assess seed levels, and the locking roof keeps other critters out. Accommodates 7 pounds of seed and measures 8-by-10 by 19 inches tall, including hanger; $59.95 at duncraft.com.
Squirrel feeder. You love birds, but you’re not heartless. Squirrels have to eat, too. Help them through winter by putting whole peanuts in this sturdy box feeder, then watch the lid lift automatically as squirrels step on the platform. Ventilation and drainage prevent spoilage; a clear window shows when it’s time to refill. A bonus: Squirrels with their own food supply are more likely to ignore nearby bird feeders. Made in the U.S.A. of Eastern white pine and recycled plastic, the feeder can be mounted on flat surface. Measures 5.5-by-8 by 10.5 inches tall; $39.95 at duncraft.com.
FOR BIG SPENDERS
Weeding robot. From the folks who brought us the Roomba comes Tertill, a weeding robot that roams your garden beds. How does it distinguish your prized dahlia from pesky dandelions? Size. And the included guards protect smaller plants and seedlings. While this little four-wheel-drive, solar-powered trimmer hacks weeds at the soil line, it eliminates the need for hand-pulling and toxic chemicals. It doesn’t pull weeds at their roots, but over time they become depleted and die from the repeated assaults. Includes 10 whacker strings, 10 plant guards and 10 row guards to keep Tertill away from low-lying plants; $349 at tertill.com.