Carol O'Meara, Colorado State University Extension

Carol O’Meara, Colorado State University Extension

From simple pleasures to outright splurges, the season for giving is upon us. As you rush to buy gifts for your gardeners, stop to consider what type of green thumb they have. This will help you narrow down your choices in making that small purchase go a long way to happiness.

Experienced gardeners are a little harder to shop for since we have the basics. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like a load of manure. A big pile of poo would have appalled my mother, but I think it’s a very sweet gesture. Just make sure the manure comes from an herbivore and is aged four months or longer.

Are they devoted vegetable growers? The one thing they’ll love is the gift of seeds. Big dreams grow from small packets and gathering a up a collection is the perfect way to please without breaking the budget.

Many of our local seed companies have great deals on gifts and seed collections for your gardener. Check out gift sets from Botanical Interests (, a gift card from BBB seeds (, or find underutilized heirloom seeds at Amkhaseed (

A Paper Pot Maker is an inexpensive way for gardeners to make seed starting pots from paper. It’s a fun craft project for children, too, providing an activity to combat boredom. A sustainable choice for those wanting to reduce the amount of plastic they depend on, a Paper Pot Maker is fun and easy to use, over and over. $15.95 at For Small Hands (

If your gardener wants to add humor, check out the hilarious sculpture Gnome-Be-Gone by Utah artist Fred Conlon. Tackling the debate between gnome lovers and haters head-on, his two metal creatures carry aloft a peaked-cap, kitschy gnome like a captive. Marching the garden interloper off makes space for what should rightfully adorn the garden: a flamingo (please don’t e-mail me to try and change my mind. I’m firmly in the flamingo camp). $125; find this at Uncommon Goods, (

If your gardener is new to the hobby, a gift basket is a great way for you to cover a lot of items they might need. Filled with plant markers, seeds, and pots, a handsome, functional basket is an all-in-one gift they’ll love. You can pop in an additional tool to make the basket complete. $49.95; Gardening gift basket from Mountain Lily Farm (available on Etsy,

For those who spend all day working with their hands, focus on quality, not quantity. Go cheap and you risk harming your green-thumbed friend, since poorly made tools can snap, snag, or worse, require too much pressure to operate. Yes, a good pruner is costly – about $75 and up – but they last a decade or longer.

Don’t forget gloves, plant markers, or other knick-knacks gardeners love. We’re not a picky group; after all, we treasure scraps of twine and get woozy over manure. If you’re unsure, ask another gardener for their opinion before you purchase something. We’ll be honest and let you know if it works or not.

By Carol O’Meara. Carol is an Extension Agent – Horticulture Entomology at Colorado State University Extension Boulder County. For more information call 303.678.6377, e-mail
[email protected] or visit