A practical gift guide for gardeners

Gardening is another hobby that can be a great inspiration for presents. But, and speaking from experience, while it's always nice to have a pretty garden trowel set there is a limit to how many you can have, and often something more practical might also be appreciated.  For this week's gift guide I've put together a mix of items that I use, and which I have my eye on.

While the secateurs I told you about in the summer are brilliant, when there's more heavy duty work to be done I turn to my ratchet secateurs which we bought one year at Grand Designs - they were so good that when we went to another home show later in the year, we bought another pair. Now when we're working in the garden we know there's two pairs available and after having my pair nicked by MOH once too often, mine can usually be found in my back pocket when not in use.

It was earlier this year that I shared my admiration for the Stihl trimmer, and I'd recommend the Stihl range generally. You'll remember I went to visit their factory in Kufstein in January, and not only was it fantastic, the research that goes into these products blew me away. Coupled with the fact that the people were so lovely too, for me, if there's a choice I'd always opt for the Stihl or Viking products, because I've seen how they're assembled and looked their top management in the eye (in a non-confrontational way!).

While I was in Portugal this October they launched a new range of powerful and lightweight tools, and if I'm honest I've got my eyes on the leaf blower from this range - looking at the details it weighs 2kg, including the integrated battery.  Their site says it's quiet and I can well believe this, remember I've been into their Competence Centre, which is Europe's largest anechoic chamber, and totally mind blowing (pun not intended). 

At the time I told you how the echo from all sound, including sound you don't hear, is removed - but anyway, the testing that goes into noise levels means I believe it when they say it's quiet.  Our current leaf blower (and sucker) is far from quiet, in fact it sounds more like a motorbike and therefore isn't used very much at all.  And we wouldn't buy a leaf sucker bit again, as it gets even noisier (which we never thought possible) if it sucks up a stone - worth remembering if you're in the market for a leaf blower.

The henchman ladder is also on my wish list. I'm a bit wobbly up ladders, but I'm also impatient so often can't wait for MOH to finish doing whatever he's doing to come and hold the ladder - which I instantly regret of course, every single time!  This one has a wider base, which will make it more stable and it also has adjustable feet, because no garden ever is ever flat is it?  

My current ladder has a lean guard - that's my non-technical name, but hopefully descriptive enough for you to know what I mean, and having somewhere to rest tools, gloves and string is always a good move too.

The gloves and cloche, well I go through gardening gloves like anything - I'm not quite sure what I do to them - but I do like to have pink gloves, I leave the more usual green ones for MOH. Cloches are also on my wishlist, and this Victorian style cloche would be a great addition to any garden wouldn't it? 

And I wouldn't even mind seeing it, much nicer than anything I've Heath-Robinson-ed together!