Much of what follows is my own wish list, but these items would likely make great gifts for you and other succulent lovers as well. Some I already own and figured you’d want them too. If you’re the giftee, consider forwarding this to the gifter. Note: Some links go to Amazon, where I’m an associate, so I do get a small percentage of any sales that result, but it doesn’t cost you extra. Please know I appreciate it—especially since, while doing this exhaustive research, I bought a few things. ;+)
Tools and useful items
Thorn Armor Gloves: These are the gloves that Phoenix artist Jim Sudal wore while assembling his prickly-pear holiday tree. His gloves were ruined after two days and 250 spiny pads, but Jim says he couldn’t—and wouldn’t—have done it without them. Prices vary according to size, but expect to pay $40 or $50. I figure a pair ought to last someone like me, who doesn’t handle cactus much, a lifetime. In fact, they’ll probably become heirlooms.
Joyce Chen scissors. Around $20. I have four pairs that I keep in various drawers and on my potting bench. I even have a pair in my car for…well…you know, the occasional overgrown succulent by the side of the road. Joyce Chen scissors don’t appear tough, but they can cut through finger-diameter branches. I use them mainly for precision snipping, clipping and deadheading. If I could keep one of my pairs of Joyce Chen’s out of the garden, I’d use it for its intended purpose: in the kitchen, cutting chicken bones.
12-Inch Tweezers. Under $10. These are for those fiddly instances when you have to reach into an agave or between spines to extract fallen leaves, weeds and bits of debris. Long tweezers also are good for picking up bristly succulents. However, for a plant much larger than a ping-pong ball, you really need tongs…which I suspect you already have (check the kitchen). Hm, maybe you should get a second set of those, too.
The Colorful Dry Garden, $23. Not only is author Maureen Gilmer an expert on plants and gardening in the dry Southwest, her explanations, advice and descriptions are full of wit and insight. Gilmer’s beautifully illustrated book presents an extensive assortment of flowering shrubs that make great low-water companion plants for succulents. It dovetails nicely with the updated and revised second edition of Designing with Succulents. Want to get both books for free? Scroll down to the Giveaway.
Moisture meter. Are you concerned about under- or over-watering your succulents? If you tend to be a helicopter plant parent, you’ll find a moisture meter reassuring. Stick its probe into the soil, and if the indicator goes to the left of moist, it’s OK to water. If it zips to the right, back away from the plant. This particular meter also measures light and soil pH, and needs no battery—not bad for under $10.
Pretty, cool stuff
Commemorative Tile: It’s a win-win: You support a worthy cause; honor a cherished relationship for decades (if not centuries) from now; and you give the recipient a lifelong fondness for a public garden. This particular tile is in the Children’s Garden of the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG), and whenever my grandson is there, he looks for it. The SDBG is now raising funds for a 7,400-square-foot glass conservatory. Donor tiles are $250 to $5,000, depending on size. In the Bay Area, the Ruth Bancroft Garden—renowned for its succulent collection—is currently selling donor tiles to raise funds for a new building; theirs include the garden’s agave logo.
Cactus pad jewelry. I found the adjustable ring (above) on Etsy for $11. Matching earrings are $10. They’re made of “high quality resin” and come from Bulgaria, so it takes a couple of weeks for them to arrive.
Succulent leggings. No one would ever think of getting these for me (how sad is that?), so I consoled myself by adding them to my cart. If the pattern I chose is too sedate for you, do a search for “succulent leggings.” There are dozens of styles, some insanely colorful.
Succulent shoes. These come in several patterns, including cacti. I can’t speak for the quality, but at $50 it had better be good. The seller won’t ship after Nov. 30 to ensure delivery by Dec. 25, so if you’re interested, jump. Btw, I’m a size 9. Just sayin’.
My Own Designs
Over the past few years, I’ve created numerous gift and decor items based on my own artwork and photos. They’re for sale online at my Zazzle store. Zazzle doesn’t make it easy to pass along discounts, but here’s a 15%-off code you can use through Jan. 31, 2019. Copy-and-paste it when you order: UQEYOJQKDMCOXQJQPRTP. But first see if they’re offering an even better discount (which they often do).
Agave watercolor tile 4.25” x 4.25” on Zazzle, regular price $13.70
Agave throw pillow on Zazzle, 16′ x 16″ square, regular price $31.35.
Barrel cactus lumbar pillow, 13” x 21”, on Zazzle $36.65 regular price.
My 2019 Succulent Watercolors Calendar, on Zazzle $22.15 regular price.
And now, the giveaway!
I’m giving away a pair of books that are must-haves for anyone who gardens in the dry, hot Southwest. If you already own them, they make great gifts: The Colorful Dry Garden (see above) and my magnum opus, Designing with Succulents (the revised and updated 2nd edition). Do enter! If the winner is a subscriber to my newsletter (sign up on my Home page), he or she will also receive my Succulents 2019 Watercolor Calendar! Go to my Instagram page to enter.
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Tools, Books and Products — My personal faves!
Want to give a signed copy of one or more of my books? Contact me!