Carol O'Meara - Colorado State University Extension

Carol O’Meara – Colorado State University Extension

BOULDER – If you’re looking for the hot gift for gardeners this season, give them a rain barrel. With new laws allowing for collection of up to 110 gallons of water from your roof, rain barrels let your gardener harvest what falls from the clouds. Ideal for filling watering cans to water potted plants, adding a bit more moisture to hot spots, or washing tools, they fit under the downspout to collect runoff from storms or snowmelt.

A good rain barrel has a lid, screen for filtering roof debris, spigot, and diverter to prevent overflow. And rain barrels offer the opportunity for accessorizing with follow on gifts including watering cans or coiled hoses for moving the water into the landscape.

Available in different sizes, gardeners can start small with 45 gallon barrels; place two barrels at different corners of the house, or side by side for dual collecting. The total of all rain barrels cannot exceed 110 gallons. When planning to give this as a gift, be sure to check out their downspout set up before you buy, in case you need to include a downspout extension or platform to set the barrel upon.

Ace Hardware has these; check out in-store supplies or place an order and they’ll have the barrel for you to pick up in three to five days. Also available at McGuckin Hardware in Boulder, as well as area Home Depot or Lowe’s. Prices range from $81.99 and up, depending on size, design, and included hardware.

The Roo Apron adds an innovative twist to an old gardening basic: a long front that folds up with ties to create harvesting and carrying pouches. If you’re gardener is like me and turns up their t-shirt bottom to hold whatever they’re harvesting, they’ll be right at home in this apron. With a water resistant nylon storage pouch and adjustable straps, your gardener will tote tools, bedding plants, seedlings, or harvest happily all season long.  The easy release for the large pouch makes disgorging the contents easy. Roo Aprons, $32.95 at

Star Trek lovers celebrating the 50th anniversary of the show’s debut can “boldly grow where no gardener has grown before” with garden gnomes cast as beloved characters from the original series. Let’s face it: this is the only way I’ll have a gnome in amongst my garden flamingoes.  Touted as able to protect your garden from Tribbles, these gnomes are made from polyresin and last years. Choose from Kirk, Spock, Redshirt, or Kirk and Gorn, they’re $24.99 each at Think Geek (

Vegetable gardeners will love the Tubtrug, a lightweight tub with handles that make garden chores a snap. Available in bright colors so you’ll never lose it in the garden, Tubtrugs are UV and frost resistant, plus have lines denoting liters inside to make measuring easy. Supersize the gift with a Tubtrug colander, a mesh basket that fits into the Tubtrug to allow for rapidly cooling and washing of produce. Tubtrugs start at $13.95 for 3.5 gallon size; other sizes and prices vary. Colander $15.95 at Johnny’s Selected Seeds (

Hanging herb racks are stylish and add a touch of rustic charm when full of bundles drying for use in the off season. Great for rosemary, sage, and thyme, they’re also perfect for hanging flowers or chili ristras to dry.  There’s inexpensive, too, starting at $19.95 and up. Gardener’s Supply Company has these, (

Colorado State University Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development.  For more information contact Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd., Box B, Longmont, 303.678.6238, or visit