Some out of the ordinary gift ideas

Are you looking for gifts for your gardeners? Or want to drop a hint for yourself? I’m sure you know the usual: garden gloves, tools, gadgets. But here are a few things a little out of the ordinary that I want to share with you.

First, I just stumbled across Succulent Pillows, plushy pillows in the shape and colors of the leaves of different varieties of succulent plants. Some are a wonderfully three-dimensional sort of generic succulent in a variety of colors. Others are single-leaf designs of specific plants, e.g., Alocasia frydek (Elephant’s Ear) and varieties of Philodendron.Some out of the ordinary gift ideas

From Green Philosophy Co., the pillows look so bright, cozy — and fun! I also like that with every purchase the company gives back by planting trees via a partnership with Trees for the Future, a non-profit organization that helps farmers across the world regenerate their land. More info and ordering at:

Second, I came across a “reinvented” wheelbarrow called the Aerocart. Created by Worx, the Aerocart adapts to also be used as a yard cart or a dolly. You can even use it to haul rocks up to eighty pounds.

Here are the details:

Converts instantly between 8 different uses, including lightweight wheelbarrow, yard cart, bag holder, dolly, extended dolly, cylinder carrier, rock/plant mover and trailer tote.
Turbo Lift design makes a 200-pound wheelbarrow load feel like 17 pounds.
The design adjusts the center of gravity for a balanced and easy-to-manage load.
Flat-free tires never need inflating.
Go to, or simply search for “aerocart worx.” ($199.99)

Third, are indoor vegetable growing kits. Here are several I came across:

AeroGarden units come with their own grow light and are small enough to find a place in just about any indoor setting. They’re designed to grow herbs, vegetables, salad greens or flowers indoors. All you have to do is insert pre-seeded “pods,” add water, and a specially formulated Liquid Nutrients mix. Most plants are ready for harvesting in 4-6 weeks and will keep producing continuous harvests for up to six months and longer. Available in a variety of sizes. Info at

The Gardyn, which has a footprint of just 12 x 24 inches and stands about 5 ½ feet tall, is a “smart” hydroponic system that has a computer assistant named “Kelby™” that monitors light and watering, and pings your phone with alerts. A subscription will mail ten new “yCubes” every month—you pick the plants you want to grow. Or you can buy more refill pods on your own. Go to  Also, here’s a link to a helpful CNET review:

The modular design of Rise Gardens allows you to start as small as 8 plants and go all the way up to 108 plants. You can add 8 or 2 pods trays to any garden to instantly increase your plant yield. The hydroponic systems are wi-fi enabled and app controlled, so there’s no guesswork involved. Info at

The Tower Garden looks like a hydroponic system, but it’s actually “aeroponic.” At the base is a twenty-gallon capacity water tank. A plastic tower, about four feet tall and with “ports” for plants, rests on the base. A small pump delivers water to the top level of the tower. The water, enriched with liquid nutrients, trickles down through the roots of the plants, delivering not just water and nutrients, but also oxygen, which plant roots need for good, healthy growth. The system is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. (Lights are optional.) Info and ordering at

While each of these systems is similar, each has different features, so make sure you find the one that is right for you. The larger systems can cost upward of $800, so make sure that it’s something you really want to do over the long term.

Pam Baxter is an avid organic vegetable gardener who lives in Kimberton. Direct e-mail to [email protected], or send mail to P.O. Box 80, Kimberton, PA 19442. Share your gardening stories on Facebook at “Chester County Roots.” Pam’s nature-related books for children and families are available on Amazon, at