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Garden Chat: Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle the gardeners’ way

Gifts for the gardener on your list.

Here are some super gifts for that gardener on your list.

The hori hori knife has gained popularity in recent years and those who have one can't live without it. A barebones hori knife comes equipped with a stainless steel blade about 17 centimetres long, sharp on both edges, with one edge serrated to saw through smaller roots or root mats. From Japan, this digging tool (hori means digging) was originally used to excavate and pry out specimens in the mountains for use in bonsai arrangements. It can also be used for weeding, transplanting and dividing perennials, it readily cuts through tough root balls and sod. With a 17cm blade. it is an ideal depth measure for planting fall tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Gardena gardening gloves are appreciated by many gardeners. They are polyester knitted gloves dipped in latex to provide non-slip surfaces on the fingers and palm areas, making it easy to work with tools. The knitted wrist band keeps dirt out, while the knitted back allows for ventilation and keeps your hands dry. They are available at retail outlets and on line in packs of 3 to 9 pair. For your avid rose gardener, some light weight leather work gloves or special rose gloves with extended wrist protection may be a perfect gift.

A tool caddy to keep a gardener’s tools organized and easily transportable, is ideal for those who have to transport small tools to a community garden plot or for volunteers that help out at public gardens in their neighbourhood. An elaborate model is available from Lee Valley or perhaps local garden centres. A friend of mine was gifted a portable wire bike basket with a handle which was well adapted for this purpose.

The Saskatchewan Perennial Society has ordered in some of their famous Japanese hand hoes. These light weight garden hoes, about 28 centimetres long overall with a 12-centimetre steel blade, are ideal for weeding and slicing. It comes with a wooden handle and a red plastic loop for hanging and lasts for decades.

The SPS also have on order The Prairie Garden 2023 Edition which deals with climate change and how it may affect our gardening practices. The guest editor for this edition is Dr. Danny Blair, co-ordinator of the Prairie Climate Centre and a professor of Geography at the University of Winnipeg. He and other authors help us understand climate change and articles about drought resistant plants, mulching, water management and composting guide us to practice gardening techniques which mitigate climate effects. As always, this annual publication includes articles of general interest to all who garden in our short growing season.

If interested in the Japanese hand hoes or The Prairie Garden check for availability and pricing at 306-343-7707 or email

My daughter's wish list this year includes

Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, by Douglas W. Tallamy. This book shows how homeowners can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitat.

She is also looking forward to Benjamin Vogt's new book Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design due out in January 2023. This is a practical guide to artfully reviving diversity and wildness in our gardens.

In closing I recently picked up Aboriginal Plant use in Canada's Northwest Boreal Forest which was published in 2012. Authors Robin J. Marles, Chrisina Clavelle, Leslie Monteleone, Natalie Tays and Donna Burns feature over 200 trees and shrubs and other plants of the Canadian boreal forest. Each specimen features its common name, other names, be they in French, Cree, Chipewyan or Slave as well as its scientific name. Entries also contain a physical description, habitat and  uses (medicinal, as a food source or other economic potential). Besides its reference value, the book also describes how the research was conducted as well as its participants and the cultural and ecological background of the area.

This column is provided courtesy of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society (SPS; ). Check our website ( or Facebook page ( for a list of upcoming gardening events



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