Posted by Toni Jux on Wednesday 1st December
from Floral & Hardy
If you’ve got Gardeners to buy for, or if you’d like to give your loved ones some ideas on what to buy for you, Floral & Hardy have compiled a list of practical yet original gadgets that we’ve found on the market, especially with Gardeners in mind.
In the build up to winter we have enjoyed the golden season of Autumn, made so by the falling leaves which, when dry and crisp, provide a natural ornament to our streets and lawns, they tend to make them brown and dirty once degraded by rain and time. Usually you have gardener’s gloves and bin bags with which to clear these mulch graveyards, unless you resort to some noisy, industrial monstrosity which, by name, could only exacerbate the problem by 'blowing' the leaves all over the place!
The ‘Draper Heavy Duty Leaf Collectors’, are aesthetically somewhere between snow shoes and flippers but worn on the hands. These light but durable trays scoop the leafy wastes more efficiently than the largest, most meticulous human hand. They are available at online retailers from only £4.30 a pair.
Though it may seem a little premature to be considering next summer sitting under a parasol, with the onset of Christmas and an increasing awareness of our impact on the climate, it's prime time for solar powered garden gadgets. This parasol’s lighting requires a daily charge for nightly hospitality and the more deluxe models include built in radios and MP3 ports starting from £124
On the subject of solar power, the general ambience of a garden owes a lot to its lights, however increasing utilities costs may discourage your investment in a myriad of lanterns and spotlights and of an electrician’s services. The contemporary-looking bubble light from ‘Eco Gadgets’ should be right up your street, with the solar battery housed within the device’s body, it ensures longevity with a lifetime promise of 100,000 hours! Once it is charged, the battery will last for eight hours and the light activates automatically at dusk thanks to its integrated sensors. This is a free standing device with a half meter stake that will allow you flexibility of where to place it. £16.39 inc. del.
The flaws of the common lawnmower are a frequent complaint among the green-fingered. The spinning blades can rust from lawn dew or jam with mud and debris or worse still, deflect this debris at the gardener. You'll have noticed that the previous entries have been modestly priced, whereas the ‘Husqvarna Automower’ is something of a luxury addition to your tool shed. This robotic mower will charge at a docking station for 40 minutes to mow for a further 40 minutes on a pre-charted course over your lawn. The manufacturers can't claim it's fully solar powered, however in full sunlight, the mower will perform for up to 50% longer than it's charge making its work rate suitable for up to half an acre of land. Unfortunately with a retail price of £1000 upwards, you’ll have to like someone very much to give this as a gift!
Now a return to economic reality! While the slim trowel is an indispensably versatile tool and can be used for bulb planting, it can make knees, backs and wrists ache after time. The immediate argument concerning devices for planting bulbs is short-handled models versus long-handled. Fortunately we have a nominee from each camp for your consideration.
First the short handles - the Wolf Garten short planter is heavier than most of its competitors however this guarantees added durability and ‘oomph’ when cutting through tougher turfs. A squeeze of the handle releases the soil back over the top of the bulbs and it’s also brightly multi-coloured, making it nigh-on impossible to lose. (How many times have you put a tool down in the border never to find it again?!)
Just as good and with the advantage of not having to kneel down, is the Draper long handled planter, standing at just under a metre tall and extremely lightweight, it's easy to flip and disperse clinging soil. It also has a looped handle for easy storage. Both of these will cost £5.99 and £7.50 respectively from their relevant retailers. So treat yourself or another ‘greeny’ in your house this winter and make life a bit easier.
As a somewhat more frivolous purchase you might consider some luxury housing for birds, in which case Firebox can provide. There is no end to the different novelty bird boxes available, however the vast majority of these are too generic for something as personal as a Christmas present. So Firebox have designed an ironic twist on the conventional bird house, modelled after a Thatcher-esque caravan, it lends a rustic and traditional feel to your avian needs - £14.99.
For those among you suffering from arachnophobia, we have the Spider Catcher Vacuum from Lakeland, a battery powered hoover designed specifically to rid your garden and home of creepy-crawlies from a comfortable distance. Simply aim and suck. Doubling as an anti-air defence it will also catch wasps and flies in mid flight, the perfect weapon against mosquitoes on those summer nights to come. Available from only £9.99 from Lakeland.
On the subject of vacuums, next on our list is the Pond Vac. The hose attachment deposits pond water in an eco-friendly and re-usable sack which then filters through the lining leaving any debris behind. It comes with an attachable brush used to loosen the matted dirt at the pool’s bed - £24.99.
Finally we must consider the younger gardeners among our flocks. What's to occupy them while we attend to our gardens? Simply, a garden of their own! From just £19.99 spottygreenfrog.co.uk supply a micro-cosmic bio-dome capable of housing a variety of tropical species including a guaranteed-to-grow seed. Teach your children the value of growing things whilst regaling them with the more mysterious ecology of our planet.
With snow heavy on the ground at the moment, do you think we'll have a White Christmas? Whatever the weather, enjoy the festive season.