As the cold grip of winter tightens across much of the country, gardening season can seem like a long time away. But for the avid gardener, those first few planting days can’t come soon enough. To hasten that long winter wait, why not pick out a few perfect gifts for the green thumb in your life. We cover it all — from simple stocking stuffers to the latest, greatest gizmos.
Battery-powered lawn mowers have been gaining in popularity over the years and are a great alternative to cumbersome cord-based electric motors or noisy and polluting gas engines. The Black & Decker CM1836 lawn mower ($379) has a built-in 36 volt battery, which eliminates messing around with gas, oil changes and air filters. This battery-powered machine is limited to mowing a third of an acre on a single charge, but the Black & Decker CM1936 ($429) comes with a removable battery, allowing you to swap it out in order to clear larger yards. The batteries are designed to last five years, according to Black & Decker (though the warranty only covers the battery and mower for two years).
Like a Roomba for your lawn, the Husqvarna series of automatic mowers promises an effortless and unattended way to keep your lawn trimmed. Husqvarna claims these machines can clear anywhere from an eighth to half an acre, depending on the model. The mowers will keep cutting until the battery begins to wear down, when it’ll head back to the base station for a charge. However, with prices ranging from $1,300 to $3,000, an automatic mower is a pretty pricey way to avoid getting a little exercise.
Black & Decker also offers up one of the coolest tools this holiday season, the PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor ($60). Stick this little garden helper in the ground for 24 hours and it will monitor soil quality, moisture levels and light conditions. Then bring it inside and plug it in to your computer through the built-in USB port and upload the data. Black & Decker’s webpage will let you know which plants are perfect for that particular site, allowing you to sort by color, type and a number of other variables.
The Rittenhouse Electro Weeder ($133) is a potent and precise weed killer that offers an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical herbicides. The weeder’s metal spike pierces the plant and then delivers a sharp blast of heat, cooking it all the way down to the root. In addition to the environmental benefits, the Electro Weeder is a more targeted approach than chemicals and can even deliver a fatal blow to herbicide-resistant weeds.
For the absentminded gardener in your life, or those who are frequently on the road, there’s Claber’s Oasis Automatic Watering System ($80). The 6.6 gallon tank can provide moisture for as many as 20 plants for up to 40 days.
And finally, for the gardener who has everything, and I mean everything, there’s the Wingscapes Timelapse PlantCam ($80), a digital camera that uses time lapse photography to capture your garden’s growth over a span of months. The camera is fully waterproof, so you can set it up outdoors, and its battery life lasts eight weeks, long enough to create digital memories of your sprouting greenery in all its spring glory.
Looking for something to slip into that stocking? Try out Bionic’s gardening gloves ($30), which come in styles for both men and women. Sure they might look like they’re better suited for a putting green than protecting your green thumbs, but Bionic promises these gloves are so nimble that you’ll be able to pick up a penny while enjoying ample protection from thorns and thistles.
For the habitual horticulturalist, there’s the Radius Garden line of hand tools ($10), which feature a unique curved handle design intended to reduce muscle strain and improve leverage. And besides the ergonomic advantages, these tools look pretty cool, too.