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Christmas gift ideas for the gardener in your life

Simon King Medusa Bird Feeder Defender. Photo: wildlifeworld.co.uk
Simon King Medusa Bird Feeder Defender. Photo: wildlifeworld.co.uk

Looking for something different for the gardener in your life? Mandy Bradshaw has been searching out some gift ideas

Great British Life: Woodlodge's Eco Made range. Photo: woodlodge.co.ukWoodlodge's Eco Made range. Photo: woodlodge.co.uk

Ocean-friendly gardening

With so much plastic ending up in the sea, it’s good to see some of it being put to use in a new range of pots by Woodlodge.

The Tetbury pot specialist’s Eco Made range has outdoor pots created from reclaimed material, including fishing nets and ropes. The light, stylish pots (RRP £19.99) come in a range of colours, including sea shades, and can be recycled at the end of their life.

For indoor gardeners, pots for houseplants have just been launched (RRP £9.99). Again, these have been made from reclaimed ocean material.

Both ranges are available at garden centres and shops across the Cotswolds. For details, visit the Woodlodge website: woodlodge.co.uk

Great British Life: Stihl cordless pruner. Photo: stihl.co.uk/enStihl cordless pruner. Photo: stihl.co.uk/en

More power to your pruning

Sometimes pruning needs more than a pair of secateurs but using a pruning saw is hard work.

This cordless pruner from Stihl is ideal for those smaller jobs when a chain saw would be overkill, and makes light work of cutting back trees or shrubs.

Battery-operated, the GTA 26 will handle stems of up to 4cm in diameter and is easy to handle. It’s available as a set with a battery, charger and carrying bag for £169. See the Stihl website for details of stockists: stihl.co.uk/en

Great British Life: Sophie Conran galvanised seed organiser for Burgon & Ball. Photo: burgonandball.comSophie Conran galvanised seed organiser for Burgon & Ball. Photo: burgonandball.com

Sophie Conran’s sophisticated solutions

When it comes to watering houseplants, an outdoor can isn’t really suitable, but Sophie Conran – designing for Burgon & Ball – has come up with the perfect answer.

These galvanised steel watering cans are timelessly chic and well balanced with a long spout that’s ideal for getting water into containers.

The cans come in 1 litre (£19.99) and 1.7 litre (£26.99) sizes and are part of a range that includes a seed organiser (£25.99) and heart-shaped trowel (£22.99).

Stockists are listed on the Burgon & Ball website: burgonandball.com

Great British Life: Simon King Medusa Bird Feeder Defender. Photo: GMACSimon King Medusa Bird Feeder Defender. Photo: GMAC

Defending against the big boys

Fed up with jackdaws, rooks, crows and magpies stealing the food intended for smaller birds? A new bird feeder with a built-in guard could be the answer.

Tetbury-based Wildlife World, working with TV naturalist and cameraman Simon King, have spent two years developing and testing the Medusa Bird Feeder Defender.

Hanging chains around the feeder deter bigger birds but allow smaller species through, while bars on the top act as a staging post for those waiting their turn.

The feeder is £24.99 and is available from the Wildlife World website: wildlifeworld.co.uk

Great British Life: Hartwell & Co obelisk with Bishop Hat finialHartwell & Co obelisk with Bishop Hat finial

Chippies of Chipping Campden

Family firm Hartwell & Co may be better known for their timber fencing, but they also produce wooden garden pieces at their premises near Chipping Campden.

Their beautifully crafted wooden obelisk with a bishop’s hat finial (£231.18) is ideal for giving height to borders, while the trellis arch (£146.94) made from natural peeled and treated poles will add some rustic charm. They also make an In-Line Pergola (prices start at £180) that can be bought as a kit or made-to-measure.

The firm, run by the same family for more than 100 years, uses wood from sustainable sources and is pressure treated for longevity.

For more information, visit the website hartwellfencing.co.uk

Great British Life: Genus Gardening Caddy, £69. Photo: genus.gsGenus Gardening Caddy, £69. Photo: genus.gs

You can take it with you

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a gardening job and realising you’ve left a vital tool in the shed.

The Gardening Caddy Bag from Cotswold firm Genus means you can keep all your gardening tools, string, ties and other essentials – including coffee – close at hand as you move around the garden or head to the allotment.

It’s made of tough fabric with a reinforced base to withstand damp and has eight external pockets, including one with a zip, along with six inside and a D-ring for keeping keys safe. You can carry it either by the long strap, which is detachable, or by handles.

The caddy is priced at £69 and available from Genus: genus.gs

Great British Life: Lizzie the Smithy handmade garden haycartLizzie the Smithy handmade garden haycart

Lizzie the Smithy

From haycarts that can be filled with flowers to arches and benches, Gloucestershire blacksmith Lizzie Whyte has many pieces that would please a gardener.

Lizzie, who fell in love with blacksmithing after doing a one-day course, handmakes garden furniture and artwork at her studio in the Forest of Dean.

Pieces include a wonky garden arch made from solid steel and finished with raw linseed oil, which protects the iron but gives it a rustic patina (£350), and the vintage haycarts (prices start at £1,600).

She also makes pond covers, designed to look like waves, decorative benches, and cube sculptures that are ideal as plant supports.

Gift vouchers are available and Lizzie runs forge taster days. For details, visit: haycarts.co.uk

Great British Life: Hartley Botanic patio glasshouse. Photo: hartley-botanic.co.ukHartley Botanic patio glasshouse. Photo: hartley-botanic.co.uk

Perfect for the patio

If you don’t have enough room for a traditional greenhouse, a mini greenhouse is a great way to extend the growing season.

Hartley Botanic have a patio glasshouse that’s perfect for small spaces. It comes in a range of colours, has toughened glass and is priced at £1,900 to include delivery and installation. hartley-botanic.co.uk

Gardening books

 

Great British Life: The Kew Gardens Christmas Book, by Jenny LinfordThe Kew Gardens Christmas Book, by Jenny Linford

The Kew Gardens Christmas Book

Do you know why we decorate a tree at Christmas, or why mistletoe is believed to have special powers? The Kew Gardens Christmas Book by Jenny Linford (£20 Kew Publishing) sheds light on these and other festive traditions.

The book looks at why we dream of a white Christmas, how reindeer became a part of the celebrations and changing tastes in festive food, along with some seasonal recipes.

Woven through are details of Kew’s work to safeguard plant diversity and how it looks after a wide-ranging collection.

Great British Life: RHS The Winter Garden. Pub: DKRHS The Winter Garden. Pub: DK

RHS The Winter Garden

It’s easy to ignore gardens in the winter but Naomi Slade’s latest book shows why that would be a mistake.

RHS The Winter Garden (£25 DK) is a celebration of the season and a guide to making the most of our outdoor spaces. It includes plants to choose, explains how hard landscaping can elevate a winter scene, and how to work with low light levels.

Beautifully illustrated, it’s the perfect fireside read.

Great British Life: England's Gardens: A Modern History, by Stephen Parker. Pub: DKEngland's Gardens: A Modern History, by Stephen Parker. Pub: DK

England’s Gardens: A Modern History

Ever wondered how English garden style developed? A new book by garden historian Stephen Parker sheds light on its evolution.

On a journey through some of the country’s great gardens – including many from the Cotswolds – he discovers the stories behind them, the influences on their creation and their position in the wider horticultural world.

England’s Gardens: A Modern History (£25 DK) is a captivating read and an insight into why England is known as a ‘nation of gardeners’.

Great British Life: The Gardening Book, by Monty Don. Pub: BBC BooksThe Gardening Book, by Monty Don. Pub: BBC Books

The Gardening Book

Monty Don, the face of BBC Gardeners’ World, talks to “bewildered” gardening novices in The Gardening Book (£28 BBC Books).

With the aim of demystifying the art of growing, he explores what makes a garden and how to go about creating one.

There are sections on the basics, such as understanding your soil and which tools to choose, as well as an explanation of gardening techniques, including pruning and propagation.

Suggestions of plants for foliage, structure and flowers alongside details of how to grow everything from lettuce to blueberries make this a comprehensive guide, ideal for the beginner.

Great British Life: The Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page. Pub: Vintage ClassicsThe Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page. Pub: Vintage Classics

The Education of a Gardener

It may have been originally published in 1962, but The Education of a Gardener (£14.99 Vintage Classics) by Russell Page is as relevant now as then.

Republished with a foreword by Alan Titchmarsh, it lets us into a lifetime of horticultural learning in a career that included designing at Longleat and for royalty.

There’s a discussion on what constitutes style, advice on choosing shrubs, and a look at the differing town gardens of London and Paris.

The lively style makes it an entertaining and informative read.

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