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Spring Gift Guide: Gardening Stuff for the Tree-Hugger or Plant-Grower in Your Life

I’m not that great with plants, you guys. But damn, do I try. I dream of being a world class gardener who grows everything she eats, works among indoor hanging plants, and plucks her own herbs in the morning for breakfast. My mission is to get much, much better at gardening, growing, and sustaining life that comes out of soil — for decoration, for food, and for fun.

And thus, this guide: a roadmap to the books, accessories, and tools that will make tree-hugging, plant-growing garden hippie gnomes like me very, very happy. And just in time for spring, coming soon to a planet near you! (It starts on Sunday; get into it!)

Books and Magazines

Some of us want to look at pretty gardens and pretend we’re good enough to grow them. Some of us want to grow our next meal. And some of us just want to make things prettier with plants. The thing that unites us all, though, is that a book or magazine lighting our way can do a whole heck of a lot of good.


Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden

Birds & Blooms Magazine Subscription

Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent

Indoor Kitchen Gardening: Turn Your Home Into a Year-round Vegetable Garden 

Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration: 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy 

Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise between the Sidewalk and the Curb 

Garden Gate Magazine Subscription

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children 

Homegrown Harvest: A Season-by-Season Guide to a Sustainable Kitchen Garden 

Garden Inspirations

Indoor and Outdoor Planters

You can’t plant a plant without a place for the plant to be planted, is what I always say. I’m really into finding unique and adorable homes for my houseplants, and I guarantee the person in your life who loves flowers or herbs or succulents or whatever feels similarly. Get ’em something that makes the plants stand out even more and their love for said plants will only, um, grow.


Oak Log Planter | Recycled Oak Barrel Planter | Wooden Vertical Garden | Wooden Hanging / Tabletop Planters


Wall-Mounting Terrariums | Skull Planter | Macrame Plant Hanger

Gardening Supplies

How am I supposed to become a world class gardener if I don’t have any of the necessary supplies? If someone made me a starter kit, I know I’d be able to hack it. The only problem is that nobody has done that, probably because I’ve never directed them to this pile of awesome goods related to being able to garden at all.

BeFunky Collage

Reusable Stainless Steel Garden Markers | Translucent Watering Can | Pink Garden Tool Kit | Vintage Chalkboard Trug | Deluxe Soil Knife Gift Set | Gardening Tote

Garden Decorations

Put a bird on it. Or just a home for one. Or just a cat statue. WHATEVER, Y’ALL.

accessories decor

DIY Bird House | Garden Cart Plant Stand | Mason Jar Hummingbird Feeder | Stretching Cat Statue | Owl Statue

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Yay! I bought eleven houseplants last weekend because I needed some plant friends and then I couldn’t just leave the other lonely-looking ones there. (This must be what Heather feels like with street kittens).

    • Don’t you just hate it when no one picks the plants that just need a little bit of extra care? I got some pretty wilted flowers but after some water and fresh dirt, it looks like my flowers are on steroids!

  2. Gardening is the best! I just started mine up and have found a few resources really helpful for staying within my budget. If you are fortunate to live in an area with a seed exchange organization, that is a great way to start out your garden without buying 1,000 seed packets. I’ve also had great luck with my local Buy Nothing Facebook group and Craigslist to find everything from free growing containers to topsoil. Lots of stores also give away wood pallets for free, which could easily be turned into a vertical garden planter like the one featured in this article. Thank you for this awesome roundup, Carmen, and happy gardening to everyone!

    • You can also replant produce that you buy, if it hasn’t been genetically modified. I will usually keep an few onions are garlic to replant. One day I will replant my potatoes! Ever tried to make an avocado tree grow, I found it quite difficult

  3. I too want to look at pretty gardens and pretend I’m good enough to grow them (I haven’t even had consistent luck with succulents. Although, if my house had better lighting I think a number of my growing attempts would have worked better).

    Also, I work with the elderly, and one of the people that I take care of has VERY HIGHLY recommended the Birds&Blooms magazine to me on a number of occasions, so there’s a shining endorsement for that right there.

  4. I am surprised no one has mentioned singing to the plants yet. I will occasionally talk to mine. I don’t think it makes a difference but it makes me feel silly enough to smile for the rest of the day!

  5. Passing on a tip from my grandma, I can’t recommend a hatchet enough for anyone gardening in a yard. Neighbor’s tree getting a little too fresh with its roots? *Thunk* not anymore! Angry about the patriarchy? Take it out on the weeds!

  6. I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.

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