December 18, 2009 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
It’s the Holidaze, and you may have waited till the bitter end as I have. For your garden and green-loving friends and family who may be short on space, here are some cool last minute gifts that I love either for their utility, design, wit, or a combination of all those elements:
1. Liquid Cardboard (above) Equal parts vase and plaything, this amazing contraption contorts into myriad shapes. The cardboard’s unique honeycomb structure makes it extremely durable. Crafted from natural recycled fiber free of toxic chemicals and bleaches. Opening dimensions: 6.5”(diameter) x 4”(h). Packaged in a decorative recycled cardboard box printed with soy-based ink. Available at our Urban Gardens Shop.
2. P. Allen Smith’s Container Garden Cards (above) These easy-to-follow container garden recipes cards from P. Allen Smith include a list of plants, step-by-step planning instructions, and a diagram showing you how to design your garden. They’re printed on tabbed cards that you can bring with you to your gardening center or nursery. Available at our Urban Gardens Shop.
3. Eva Solo Self-Watering Flowerpot This simple but beautifully designed self-watering flowerpot is a great solution for those of us who neglect our plants to an early demise. The pot consists of two pieces–a ceramic pot that you plant with your favorite herb or houseplant and a glass base that you fill with water. A series of nylon wicks gradually draw water from the glass base into the soil. You can go on vacation and come home to a living plant as the planter is self-sufficient for a week or more at a time. Available at Sprout Home.
4. OXO Good Grips Pruners Besides being nice to look at, these have a hardened, Teflon® coated steel cutting blade and soft, comfortable, non-slip grips to maximize cutting strength and power. A conveniently located locking switch is easily accessible by both lefties and righties, and 3/4″ diameter cutting capacity makes these shears versatile. Available at our Urban Gardens Shop.
5. Minimalist Watering Can This ingenious watering can designed by Swedish designer Pascal Charmolu is made of 18-0 stainless steel with a flexible silicone hose. The hose has a built-in magnet that allows it to be attached to the can’s body when not in use. When watering your plants, you simply hold the metal cylinder with one hand and the hose in the other. To start or stop the water flow, you move the metal cylinder up or down. Available in brushed or mirror-polished steel finishes as well as glossy red or white powder-coated options from aplusrstore.com
6. Casabella Grip Rake Designed by Scott Henderson for Casabella, this rake has a built in grip in the head that allows you to easily scoop up leaves and debris after you finish raking. The wide head is a good size for cleaning hard to reach places and the tines are strong yet flexible, designed so they won’t pull up your plants along with debris. Available from our Urban Gardens Shop.
7. Mini Indoor Garden Kits Create an indoor garden with Paris designer Christophe Vialle’s “Prêt-à-Pousser” (that’s French for Ready-to-Grow) mini garden kits. The kit offers many options for customizing your little garden with containers that fit within the Chlorophylle frame in countless configurations. Once the “lawn” is grown, by way of their magnetized base, they can go from tabletop to wall. Simply fill the box with the enclosed growing mixture—seeds of grass, basil or peas, and Polyter, a technology that reduces watering by half and provides the mini “lawn” with essential nourishment. The first shoots appear in about four days. Refill potting mix keeps the garden going beyond that holiday. Packaged in a recycled kraft box packaging, printed in quality vegetable ink. Available from aplusrstore.com
8. Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-it-Ourselves Guide With more than half the world’s population now residing—and struggling to survive—in cities, we can no longer afford to think of sustainability as something that applies only to forests and fields. We need sustainable living right where so many of us are: in urban neighborhoods. But how do we do it? That’s where Toolbox for Sustainable City Living comes in. In 2000 the dynamic Rhizome Collective transformed an abandoned warehouse in Austin, Texas, into a sustainability training center. Here, with their first book, Scott and Stacy, two of Rhizome’s founders, provide city dwellers—those who have never foraged or gardened along with those who dumpster-dive and belong to CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)—with step-by-step instructions for producing their own food, collecting water, managing waste, reclaiming land, and generating energy. The authors explain how to build and grow with cheap, salvaged, and recycled materials.
Scott Kellogg a Stacy Pettigrew are co-founders of the Rhizome Collective, an educational and activist organization based in Austin, Texas, that recently received a $200,000 grant from the EPA to clean up a 10-acre brownfield that they are transforming into an ecological justice park. Toolbox developed out of R.U.S.T.—Radical Urban Sustainability Training—their intensive weekend seminar in urban ecological survival skills. Toolbox for Sustainable Living available from our Urban Gardens Shop.
9. Eva Solo Birdfeeder The leaves have fallen and winter is here: fill the bird feeder with seed for the hungry birds in your garden. I love the way the feeder floats in the air much like the birds do. The feeder ball is made from glass and designed to withstand wind and weather. Available from our Urban Gardens Shop.
10. Garden Anywhere Have a small patch of soil? Or just a window box? Not a problem. Garden Anywhere shows how anyone can create an oasis in the smallest of spaces. Garden Anywhere outlines everything an aspiring gardener needs to know to sow a bounteous, thriving garden. Alys Fowler, trained at the New York Botanical Garden, guides readers through the process from the ground up—from planning the garden to composting, pruning, harvesting, and propagating. Photos illustrate the how-tos while Fowler shares tips on creating gorgeous container gardens, herb gardens, kitchen gardens and more, without spending a fortune. Available from our Urban Gardens Shop.
And one more for good measure…
11. Grow Your Own Aloe Vera Kit A skin soothing and air purifying plant used to treat more than 250 human health problems, the sap of the aloe plant contains over 200 biologically active compounds. It is also known for being one of the best air-cleaning plants that exists, removing carbon dioxide and formaldehyde, while releasing oxygen. Kit includes terrarium, also mix seed pack, plant stake, natural gravel, planting mixture, and instructions. Available at our Urban Gardens Shop.