As spring arrives, so do new gardening tools, sundries, gadgets and seeds, which are timely additions to the wealth of possible presents to give your gardening mum on Mother’s Day.
I broke my old garden fork last year, so if my children are reading this, can you get me a new one, preferably one of the new Xact range from Fiskars (www.fiskars.com), as they are lightweight but have heavy duty forged steel forks and, more importantly, come in two lengths? Priced £34.99 for the medium or £39.99 for the large, they are available in garden centres, DIY stores and online.
The winter inevitably leads to cracked terracotta pots, so now’s the chance to find some stylish, fun replacements. Homebase (www.homebase.co.uk) has a new 30cm owl planter which will look great planted with rockery stalwarts, such as alpine phlox or aubrieta, or summer favourites like dwarf lavender. Available in selected stores now or online from the first week of March, priced £19.99.
There are so many gardening gloves on the market, the mum who needs a new pair will be spoiled for choice, but Burgon & Ball’s new Love The Glove collection will take some beating. They feature advanced two-way stretch, breathable mesh and ultra-soft yet hard-wearing cushioned fabric. Available in 12 styles and colours, priced £12.95-£14.95, available from all good garden centres and www.burgonandball.com.
Those who love to grow plants from seed should look at Johnsons Designer Garden Collections, a new ‘border in a box’ concept, with collections including Cottage Garden, Fragrant and Cut, and Wildlife-Attracting Designer Garden Collections. Each box contains 12 packets of annual and perennial flower seed varieties, plus an easy-to-follow seed sowing and planting plan. All are presented in a beautiful box with border designs by leading illustrator and printmaker Hannah McVicar. Priced £9.99, available from garden centres, supermarkets and leading DIY stores and at www.johnsons-seeds.com.
She can store her seeds in one of Suttons new collectable seed tins for 2015, in six new designs including chillies and pepper, herbs, pea and bean and scented flower. The range costs £4.99 (apart from the large Pea & Bean, which is £6.99). Available from www.suttons.co.uk.
For the mum who likes music while she works, the Roberts Travel Pad may be an ideal gift, as it’s small, portable and has Bluetooth technology, to connect with any Bluetooth mobile device, so you can play music from your mobile. It also has HFP (Hands Free Profile) which means phone calls to a paired phone can be answered from the Travel Pad itself, while it acts as both a speaker and microphone. Priced £80, available from www.robertsradio.co.uk
Brighten up your mum’s tool collection with a Spear & Jackson (www.spear-and-jackson.com) cutting set from its new ‘COLOURS’ collection, featuring trowel and fork sets, secateurs and mini snips and secateurs and shears gift sets in dazzling shades of pink, green, blue and red. My favourite is the bypass secateurs and bypass lopper set in a rather fetching blue, priced £24.99, available from independent garden centres and online from www.amazon.co.uk.
Afternoon tea in the garden, or indoors, can be brightened up by buying your mother a gorgeous new tea set with floral notes - check out Dobbies new Sweet Pea set, featuring two-tier cake stand (£18), afternoon tea set (£10), flower and garden jug (£8), sweet pea teapot (£15) and sugar and cream (£15). Available from Dobbies garden centres nationwide (www.dobbies.com)
If she doesn’t want to keep tender plug plants on a tray on the kitchen windowsill, treat your mum to a more stylish alternative to the outdoor green house, a glass cloche, which is more like a home decor piece. The Scandinavian-designed sage green base and glass cloche cover keep the perfect climate for plug plants and seedlings to progress, or growing herbs or even houseplants. Indoor Greenhouse, £29.95, available from www.prezzybox.com.
For mums who like floral toiletries, the RHS Floral Hand & Nail Cream collection in scents of sweet pea, rose and hibiscus makes a gorgeous gift (£15, 3x50ml), blending the natural aromas of RHS gardens. Available online at www.bronnley.co.uk, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason, Fenwick, House of Fraser and independent pharmacies.
Give your mum some time for armchair gardening by investing in a horticultural book. Kew On A Plate With Raymond Blanc (Headline, £25, out March 5) accompanies a new BBC TV series and shows how Blanc and Kew Gardens have created a stunning kitchen garden to showcase the heritage of our favourite plants, revealing their growing and cooking secrets.
And if Mum likes keeping records and planning future growth, she may welcome the new Sophie Conran garden journal from Burgon & Ball, containing more than 200 useful pages, including a gardening calendar, tips for each month, to do list, weekly planner, weather log, photo diary, space for notes and storage wallet. Priced £14.95, available from all good garden centres and www.burgonandball.com.
BEST OF THE BUNCH - Hardy cyclamen
I’ve always found cyclamen quite difficult to grow in pots, particularly if they become waterlogged, their leaves droop quickly and don’t recover. However, hardy cyclamen can be more successful if grown in moderately fertile, well-drained soil, ideally beneath a canopy of trees or shrubs, to protect them from excessive summer rain when dormant. Cyclamen coum Pewter Group are particularly good winter-flowers, with pretty silver and green marbled leaves and reddish pink flowers. They self-seed freely and can form impressive colonies in time.