Buying presents for people isn’t easy, especially those you might deem as already ‘having everything they need’, and someone who likes to mess around in their garden might be one of the most difficult to buy for. It would look like they don’t need anything, and a desperate present might be a plant in a pot or a selection of seed packets as a last resort, which aren’t a bad thing, but not necessarily very inspiring gifts.

Gardening is one of the most mindful activities you can do in any season, and if you are looking for a gift for a starter gardener, a seasoned gardener, or even just a nature lover, here are a few gifts that would be welcomed by anyone, no matter their experience level.

Solitary Bee Homes are sometimes brick, sometimes made from lengths of small branches shaped like a birdhouse and contain cavities where solitary bees can lay their eggs in safety – their offspring emerge and the cycle begins again. To be placed in a warm sunny spot, south facing, with no vegetation in front of it, ideally placed at least 1 metre from the ground with no upward limit. Very eco-friendly for a gardener interested in a sustainable garden, as the bees will pollinate anything in the area.

New Secateurs would be welcomed by any gardener, old ones get blunt or damaged (or like mine, lost) and they don’t cost the earth. I found some the other day with a rachet closure on them, perfect for cutting off thicker branches easily, especially for those with arthritic fingers or a weak grip. You might even want to add a diamond sharpener or sharpening stone to keep blades efficient and sharp and longer lasting.

Kneelers can be found in many shapes and forms, some decorated, some plain, sometimes made from memory foam, some with uprights to help the gardener get up or down from ground level. There are many types to choose from, but the main purpose is the same. You don't have to be getting older or have a disability to want to need a kneeler to make potting, planting or just weeding, more comfortable.

Trowels and Forks - I think you can’t have too many of these! It’s advisable to avoid cheap trowels and forks if you can, as they bend very easily and soon become useless. I saw some delightful copper-plated trowels the other day with measurements on the back of the blade to ensure planting at the right height - and a dibber to match!

Wellies or gardening clogs in particular are great gifts. If the size of the wearer is known to you, just keep the receipt, they can usually be changed for a larger or smaller size. And there are some super gardening aprons about, made of hessian or strong cotton, with multiple pockets across the front to keep all tools handy.

Credits: PA; Author: PA;

A humble ball of gardening string or twine and some decent gardening snips for simple cutting jobs would be welcomed by most gardeners, plus any sort of gardening gloves - add these together with a bundle of green ziplock ties, and you have a nice collection of inexpensive and useful gifts anyone interested in gardening would be pleased to receive.

Wind chimes, ceramic herb labels, a set of different-sized ceramic containers perhaps from your local pottery gift shop and decorated in a typical Portuguese style – all acceptable presents as far as I can tell. And at the other end of the scale, garden ornaments might be a choice, from gargoyles to birdbaths!

If these all defeat you, you could try indoor presents – mugs with birds or bugs on the outside, plates decorated with plants, gardening journals or books - or even a set of plant-inspired cushions for seating inside or out.

Or go back to plan A……..a potted plant and some seeds!


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan