It’s that wonderful time of the year again, when Grumpy the Grinch has stolen all the best garden gifts from Whoville to make them available to you. Here are six great items you’ll want to stuff into every stocking you find.
Item #1. Crocus bulb tea light holders (above). This set of three hand-painted steel holders from Gardener’s Supply Company stand 6 inches high and show all the structure of a crocus right down to the roots. Colors: pink, blue, and yellow. Cost: $17.88, not including the LED tea lights that you can order separately. Grumpy thinks they’re cool and that settles that.
Item #2. BrazelBerries ‘Peach Sorbet’ dwarf blueberry and blueberry jam gift set (above). Blueberries are just about the easiest home fruit to grow, but not if you have alkaline, rocky, or poorly drained soil. The answer? Grow blueberries in containers! Then you can plant in quality potting soil. ‘Peach Sorbet’ grows only 2-3 feet tall, so it doesn’t require a big pot. And it’s self-pollinating, so you don’t need a pollinator. It gets its name from the green foliage that emerges peach, pink, and orange in spring. (Don’t ask me what a BrazelBerry is). Cost: $59 each from White Flower Farm. The blueberry jam ships immediately; the plant ships in spring 2013. Pot not included.
Item #3. Annie Haven’s Moo-Poo Tea (above). My friend in California, Annie Haven, believes in using organic, natural fertilizer. Fortunately, as the owner of a cattle ranch, she has plenty to share with you. What she’s done is ingenious. Have you ever heard of manure tea? It’s the nutrient-rich liquid you get from soaking animal manure in water. Plants love it. Of course, anyone getting a box of manure for Christmas would immediately assume it comes from a vengeful ex. But Annie’s dried manure comes in teabags you soak in water at home. No, it doesn’t smell like ****. (Annie says it doesn’t taste like it either, but I’ll have to take her word on that.) Cost: 3-pack, $12.95. One teabag makes 1-5 gallons. It’s perfect for the blueberry above and all other plants too.
Item #4. The Potting Scoop (above). Don’t you hate it when you’re filling pots with potting soil and the stuff keeps spilling out of your skinny trowel? So does my friend in Chicago, Shawna Coronado (Grumpy has so many friends!). So she not only designed a much better tool for this, but she also visited DeWit Tools in the Netherlands to forge the original herself! Fourteen inches long and weighing just 14 ounces, the carbon steel scoop features a “bag-ripper” notch on the side to open bags of potting soil plus a sharpened front edge to carve dried potting soil out of old pots. Cost: $39.90.
Item #5. Backyard chickens (above)! Backyard chickens are all the rage, as the popularity of my recent article about it in Southern Living proved. They make good pets, the eggs taste better than store-bought ones, and you don’t need a rooster to get them. Start with fertilized eggs from My Pet Chicken and hatch them yourself. Or buy day-old chicks. Choose from such prized heritage chicken breeds as Black Copper Maran, Buff Silkie Bantam, Buff Orpington, Golden Laced Wyandotte, and Rhode Island Red. Cost: Varies according to breed.
Item #6. Vintage 1789 233-Y-O Courvoisier Cognac (above). Currently on display at Harrod’s wine-tasting shop in London, this is the oldest known bottle of this world-famous elixir from France. It’s just the thing to celebrate such gardening triumphs as your winter daphne’s third month of life, your first bulb planter not destroyed by squirrels, and the first time your spouse does not run over the metal end of your garden hose while backing out the car. Cost: A mere 90,000 pounds. Don’t wait! At this price, it won’t last long! (You listening, Annie?)