Gardeners are a quirky group. We all "garden" but none of us does it in exactly the same way let alone the in the same micro-climate. That makes suggesting gifts for gardeners a bit tricky, but I'm going to give it a try anyway!
RAIN GAUGE: This rain gauge from Weather Your Way is one of my all time favorite gifts. The central tube holds an inch and overflows into the larger container up to a total of 11 inches. The inner measuring tube is graduated to one hundredth of an inch. I've had my gauge six or seven years and it is still in perfect condition. I do bring it in in the wintertime. (I think this is a much better gauge than the one Margaret Roach just suggested on Away to Garden).
GARDEN BLING: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC always has jewelry that appeals to me. I've bought a number of items over the years and have been impressed with the quality of the pieces. The items are always based on designs in the museum's collections. The current catalog has an impressive number of options including many pins that are floral motifs like lily of the valley or this African violet (below). There are bee and butterfly and dragonfly pins as well as necklaces with foliage motifs.
VASES: This is one area where I would suggest searching in antique malls, at estate sales and local charity shops. A number of my favorite vases were great deals picked up by my husband at those kinds of places. Over the years he's bought me a number of containers in all different sizes, styles and colors. Many were things I probably would not have even noticed if I were shopping for myself. But I love all of them and especially love the fact that he found a gift related to my favorite activity.
This vase — with different images on the front and back — came from an antiques mall.
This gorgeous silver vase came from a "garage sale" held by a local pair of artist/collectors.
GARDEN GEAR: I am a hat junkie and now own a group of these "Cotton Crusher" hats from Terrain. I've bought them at full prices and on sale I like them so well. They really screen your face and head from the sun. They're crushable, come in a variety of colors, have a drawstring inside to make it fit as snug or loosely as you want and you can turn the brim up or down. What's not to like?
BOOKS: I have enough garden books to start my own library. I am constantly adding and subtracting titles to my collection. Though I often buy the latest tome, I love old garden books and I love finding the newer publications at a second-hand bookstore or estate sale. If the price is right, it's easy to take a chance on an unfamiliar title. Our local libraries all have terrific sales and the deals are so good that we often pick up books, read them and then put them back in the library donation bin to be sold again. The venerable Paul's Books on State Street in Madison continues to be my go-to source for great used garden, art and cookbooks.