Langley gardening: Don’t forget the little things for gardeners at Christmas

When gardeners seek out gifts for other gardeners in stores or online, it’s not hard to discover things that would be useful in your own garden – sometimes replacing sentimental hand-me-downs that never did work well anyway.

For instance, rural gardeners with trees shedding acorns or black walnuts usually get into a sequence of rake-bend-rake which can last for hours each fall and is hard on backs. But it is possible to acquire a fruit and nut gatherer, a hollow ball of flexible wires on a long stick, said to pick up quantities fast.

Rural and city lot gardeners find wheelbarrows essential. But storing them takes space best used for other things. Landscapers’ canvas bags have very large, wide-open mouths and are easy to drag from one spot to another. Later, they can be scrunched up into next to no space.

Spades and forks can start to feel heavy as one gets older. That’s where smallish floral shovels and forks start becoming useful for vegetable gardens as well as flower beds. For people gardening in large containers, mini shovels are hugely valuable.

For windowsill gardeners there are mini spades just a few inches long. Both ends can be used. The spade end has a point while at the other end, the handle is fluted.

More of those gardeners are now starting plants on windowsills. It’s still possible to find full-size flats with transparent tops. More useful are narrow flats topped with durable domes.

In most gardens, plants sometimes need staking. But the days of cutting pantyhose or string finished a long time ago. Velcro plant ties can be cut to size and fit snugly through rain, gales, and blistering heat. Better yet, they can be used over and over.

By themselves, Velcro ties are definitely non-Christmassy. But in a decorative basket together with scrubbing type soap, hand cream, copper slug tape and perhaps an LED flashlight for night slug walks, they could get a big welcome. A gel-filled cooling scarf for gardening on sweltering days would be another useful addition.

One spring task for most homeowners is the wasp nest tour, knocking down the beginnings of nests. Personally, I find the paper wasps (with the long legs) mild and friendly. But the yellow jackets get more aggressive, the bigger the nest gets. Those nests must be removed from above doors and unscreened windows.

One way of dealing with this task is the fake wasp nest, which is said to deter wasps from establishing nests within 20 feet of where the fabricated nest is hung. They are quite beautiful, and wasp-plagued gardeners might like to try them out.

In winter, many gardeners like bird feeders in the garden, and some make their own seed mixes. But seed-covered bells or balls can also be bought. Seed-covered decorative little houses are also available. But they are not recommended for bear country.

Bears find bird feeders a great source of food.

Some of the most festive flowering plants (orchids, Christmas cactus, and tender azaleas) need high humidity. Giving a plant mister along with the plant is a helpful reminder of the care they need.

Just Posted

Upcycling: possibilities endless for Langley artists using recovered items

Past winner enjoys taking garbage, and not recycling but upcycling it into something better.

Walnut Grove liquor store move turned down by council

For the second time since December, council has voted against the plan.

UPDATE: At least two hospitalized after plane leaves runway at Abbotsford Airport

Incident occurred around noon on Friday; Transport Canada investigating

VIDEO: Langley crews prepare for salting and plowing

With heavy snow expected, crews are working 24-hours until the weather system passes.

TransLink says 28 new Skytrain cars to arrive early

The cars for the Expo and Millennium lines will now be delivered three years earlier

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kim Boutin named Canada’s flag bearer for closing ceremony

Two more medals for Canada, including the bronze in men’s hockey

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Heavy snowfall for Coquihalla

Kelowna - Snowfall is expected to continue on the highway until Sunday

Czechmate: Canada wins men’s Olympic hockey bronze

Vernon’s Andrew Ebbett scores twice as Canada beats Czech Republic 6-4

Most Read