As Mother’s Day approaches, there’s a wealth of choice of presents for the gardening mum, whatever your budget. HANNAH STEPHENSON selects some of the best
FROM seed collections to fashion-conscious gloves for the green-fingered and innovative tool ranges, no gardening mother should be without a gift on Mothering Sunday.
There’s a plethora of choice, whatever your budget, from small seed collections and mug toppers for under a fiver to more extravagant floral fragrances and practical tools which are easy for mum to manage as well as dad.
Here’s just a few of the gifts on offer:
£5 OR UNDER
If your mother’s cuppa always goes cold when she’s working in the garden, treat her to a MugTopper, a clever accessory that creates an airtight seal on the top of a mug or glass, preserving the heat inside a warm drink and ensuring a cold drink stays cool, even in the sun. It also stops insects getting inside a drink. Four designs feature a rose, a bow, a mouse and a cat on top of each (£4.99 for a set of four, from www.apollohousewares.com).
Wild flowers have become much more popular in recent years and if your mother has an area of garden which she’d like to transform into a mini meadow, there are endless possibilities with collections of flower seed mixes from meadowinmygarden.co.uk. This innovative range contains seed mixes, using annual and annual/perennial seed combinations chosen for their beauty, low maintenance and cost effectiveness of their results. There is a seed mix suitable for various specific soils and aspects, open spaces, under tress, nooks and crannies, as well as tall species ideal for bouquets. For full details of the ranges, which start at £2.99, visit www.meadowinmygarden.co.uk.
£10 OR UNDER
If you want to say it with roses, B&Q is launching a limited edition Amazing Mum rose on March 1 to raise funds for the charity founded by Prince Harry, Sentebale. The pink rose launches as part of activity to support the B&Q Sentebale Forget-me-not Garden which will be unveiled at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. (£7.98, available in 50 stores. For details, go to www.diy.com). A donation of 20% of the purchase price will go to Sentebale.
Birds, bees and butterflies are featured in lifestyle artist Katie Alice’s vintage-inspired tableware and this floral-patterned porcelain tankard mug from her English Garden collection may provide inspiration for the gardener. (£6, from www.english-table.com and selected garden centres)
If you miss phone calls or text messages when you’re tending the garden, Briers’ new Pruner Pouch offers a solution, comprising secateurs and a pouch complete with a mobile phone pocket. Fitted with a belt clip, the Pruner Pouch enables you to stay contactable while you’re out gardening. (£10.99, www.briersltd.co.uk).
Mothers who save their own seeds would welcome a pretty, eco-friendly gift of a set of five stylish recycled cardboard seed saver tubs from the new Eco range from Burgon & Ball (£6.95, www.burgonandball.com)
Orchids are still a hugely popular gift idea and if your mother has three, you could buy her the ideal container to show them off. Ebertsankey has just launched the Luzern 3, a contemporary single pot made of injection moulded plastic, which houses three separate plants and is available in fuchsia, white and granite. (£8.99 from good garden centres and DIY stores. For more information, visit www.ebertsankey.com)
£20 OR UNDER
Bird lovers can welcome visitors to their home with an unusual ornamental Birdies Wall Pocket, which can be filled with different flowers and foliage with each season. Designed in California, it’s made of rustic metal with three charming blue birds, which are often referred to as Blue Birds of Happiness, perched on the edge of the pocket (£18.95, www.home2garden.co.uk).
A gardener can never have too many gloves, but Ethel gloves are designed to specifically fit the contours of a woman’s hands - so they’re comfortable and pretty at the same time. The Jubilee, a creamy fleur-de-lis pattern against a royal blue background, is a timeless classic, made from two-way stretch Spandex with reinforced fingertips and is machine-washable. (£13.50, www.ethelgloves.co.uk and Amazon)
Gardening shoes don’t have to be boring any more thanks to a new range of designs from Back Door Shoes, including a pretty red and cream roses print. These shoes have no air holes in them so don’t let water through but are washable and ideal for just popping out on to the patio or up the garden without getting your feet wet (£20, www.backdoorshoes.co.uk).
£30 AND UNDER
Keen vegetable gardeners who are going away later this year may appreciate the new Growbag Waterer from Hozelock, which keeps plants watered for up to 14 days. By simply placing a growbag on top of the waterer, the integral capillary matting transfers the required amount of water from the reservoir to the compost. (£24.99, available from leading garden and DIY stores)
If your mother loves to keep the flowers she has grown, this new flower press from Nether Wallop will preserve many of the pretty blooms as keepsakes. The kit comes with acid-free blotting paper, cardboard separators and full instructions. (£29.95, www.netherwalloptrading.com)
To really pamper your mother, look no further than the Alison Claire Natural Beauty range, all with long-lasting natural scents. Featuring an anti-ageing cream containing natural moisturisers, orange and patchouli hand cream, peppermint and witch hazel foot cream, rose geranium body lotion and mango body butter, it is beautifully presented in a pink and white gift box lined with pink tissue paper. (£55, www.alisonclairenaturalbeauty.com)
Gardening mums often end up doing the spade work but there is help at hand for the more labour-intensive jobs such as hedge-trimming. Check out the new Bosch AHS 45-15, a lithium-ion battery-operated gem of a machine, which is light, easy to use and doesn’t have any of those awkward wires which always seem to get in the way (£89.99, B&Q, information at www.bosch-garden.co.uk).
BEST OF THE BUNCH - Bergenia
Also known as ‘elephant’s ears’ because of its broad foliage, this spring-flowering perennial adds drama to borders and does well in virtually any soil and situation, in sun or shade.
It works well as ground cover under shrubs, spreads rapidly in favourable conditions and provides colour nearly all year round, as the leathery rich green leaves turn red in autumn.
In spring, hyacinth-like spikes bearing white, pin, red or purple bell-shaped flowers appear. Good varieties include B. x schmidtii, which has dark bronze-green leaves that serve as a terrific backdrop to the clusters of raspberry-pink flowers which can last from late winter throughout spring.
B. ‘Ballawley’ is flushed with red and bronze-purple leaves in winter, followed by bright crimson flowers in spring, and is brilliant in a woodland garden or the front of a herbaceous border.
Remove tattle leaves in spring and divide clumps every four to five years to maintain vigour.
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK
:: Dig up, divide and replant snowdrops to increase their numbers.
:: As weather conditions improve, ventilate cold frames containing seedlings and cuttings from autumn to harden them off.
:: Sow slow-growing bedding under cover, including gazania, lobelia and pelargonium as well as perennials and grasses which you want to flower this year
:: Plant lily-of-the-valley crowns.
:: Prune out stems of blackcurrants infested by big bug mite.
:: Continue to force rhubarb outdoors under buckets of straw