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Snowman Seed Cylinder is made of seeds, peanuts and fruit.

Gift ideas for gardeners, costing less than $20

Looking for a gardening gift that won’t break the bank?

I’ve been lurking in local stores, hunting for things that are less than $20:

•I love my gardening-pot shaped mug from the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory gift shop, 1100 S. Calhoun St.

I get lots of comments on it, and it’s $9.99. It is a good-sized cup, has a comfortable grip and keeps my coffee warm.

•The Plant Nanny caught my eye at McNamara at Sand Point, 4322 DeForest Ave. If your gardener is likely to want something pretty, there is a ceramic and glass-globe kit for $15.99.

If your gardener is more the practical type, you can pick up a Plant Nanny PVC adaptor that fits any pop or water bottle for $3.99.

Either way, these gently water your plants over time, leaving you free to go on vacation or at least not have to worry so much about your plants with all of the dry air this time of year.

Last year, I reviewed those TV-advertised glass globes. Plant Nanny does the same thing, only better, in my opinion.

•The Snowman Seed Cylinder at the Northcrest Shopping Center Wild Birds Unlimited, $16.99, is as cute as a button. While technically not for gardening, I’d love to see one hanging in my snow-covered garden on Christmas Day.

•OK, this is technically free, but if your gardener is not already drooling over a Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog, you have to put this person’s name on the Pure Seed Book mailing list. Go to www.rareseeds.com.

My gardening friends won’t talk on the phone the day it comes in; they are too busy drooling over lush photos of Thai Burapa hot peppers and trying to figure out how to make those Desiree peas their own.

•Neuhouser Garden & Gifts, 4605 W Jefferson Blvd., always has great holiday greens. Looking for a small swag? You might be able find something in the $20 range. (If you don’t delay, that is; their greens go fast.)

•My local Do it Best Hardware store has a fun selection of bright cotton work gloves for less than $5. I bought a coral pair with sprigs of flowers. Hard to lose those, which is the point.

•If your gardener loves roses, pick up a spare pair of leather gloves at any hardware store. You can get a tough pair in the $9 to $15 range. Look for all leather with a shirred wrist, not too stiff.

•Most gardening books are more than $20, but my Kroger store, local bookstores and larger hardware stores carry all kinds of specialty magazines and soft-cover selections that can suit any taste. The best general-interest ones come from Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset and Rodale. Tip: Before buying any magazine, thumb through to make sure it has more content than ads. If your gardener specializes in something, go with that.

•Pier 1 has garden-inspired decorations for your tree, most in the under-$20 range. I like the natural bird ornaments, which I found between $3 and $10. They also have sparkly red mushrooms for $5.

•Garden steppingstone kits are fun, particularly if you garden with young people. I picked one up at a Michael’s store, but other crafting stores also carry them. You might not be able to finish this until the spring, but it’s the kind of project a gardener can think about on long, cold winter days.

Got a gift tip to share? Send an email to the address below. Tips may appear on The Journal Gazette’s gardening blog, “We’re Digging It.”

The Dirt is signing off until the sap starts to flow again, but the blog will continue all winter.

Anne Gregory is a garden putterer, not a gardening expert, and JournalGazette.net writer and editor. Garden photos (JPEGs, please) and tips may be sent to garden@jg.net (please put “The Dirt” in the subject line) or 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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