COUNTRY & GARDEN: Gardeners' Christmas delight

Need a folding wheelbarrow? Then drop some seasonal hints for Santa and his mail-order elves
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The Independent Culture
Mail order catalogues are riveting. There are so many things in them that you can't imagine anybody ever wanting or using. Bathroom gadgets especially. I suppose it's part of the narcissism of the age, but are there really people out there panting for wall-mounted chrome soap-dispensers, stainless steel lavatory brushes, Bauhaus shower curtains and hanging shelves "to get your shower gel and shampoo right where you want them"?

I'm so glad I'm not a bathroom correspondent. I'd find it difficult to give guidance at this critical time. The mirrored stainless steel cabinets, or the beech soap dish? The sanded glass sink, or the steel laundry bin? Soapstone bathroom accessories, or a double beaker-holder? Can one recommend a double beaker-holder, when the price excludes the beakers themselves? "Darling, a beaker-holder, just what I've always wanted." Would the holder take wine glasses instead? Drinking in the bath is, after all, one of the great unsung pleasures of life.

Presents for gardeners are easier to source, and below you will find suggestions for Christmas presents all of which are available by mail order. Shop without ever having to leave the comfort of your own potting- shed:

THOMPSON & MORGAN

PO Box 99, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6ZZ

To order any of the presents below, phone 01787 884141. Last date for orders is 6 December:

CC6915 Deluxe hyacinth basket planted with seven top-size bulbs of the pink hyacinth `Anna Marie', dressed with Spanish moss, pounds 18

CC6900 Traditional hyacinth basket planted with five top-size bulbs of `Anna Marie', top-dressed with Spanish moss, pounds 10

CC6952 Birch and willow basket planted with seven giant bulbs of `Paperwhite' narcissus, pounds 15

CC6944 Willoweave basket planted with 10 lily-of-the-valley "pips", pounds 15

All the above will flower within two to three weeks of arrival.

ARABELLA LENNOX-BOYD GARDEN PRODUCTS

Gresgarth Hall, Caton, Lancaster LA9 2NB Tel: 01524 771838, Fax: 01524 771281

Add pounds 5 to orders to cover p&p

Miniature hurdles to stop herbaceous plants flopping on to paths or lawn. Made from either cleft chestnut or ash, they measure 60cm wide by 30cm high, pounds 8 each

American-made, brass-mounted thermometer, to be used in a greenhouse or in the garden, pounds 30

Handsome, brass-mounted rain gauge (companion to the thermometer) to be fixed on a post, pounds 30

HOME ELEMENTS

PO Box 113, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3ZP; website address: www.homeelements.co.uk

Order hotline 0800 3285351. Add pounds 3.95 towards p&p

DLO124-04 Large, galvanised balcony-box (17cm high x 60cm long) to use as a planter, pounds 12.95

You'll also need DLO124-05, the brackets with which to fix the box into position, pounds 3.95 a pair

BPO128-04 Glass storm lantern 36cm high x 20cm diameter, like a giant glass rummer, pounds 49.95

GEO129-10 Steel shepherd's crook and lantern. The end of the crook sticks in the ground; the globe lantern swings from the top, height 133cm, pounds 17.50

GEO129-14 Glass bell jar to use as a cloche, 35cm diameter, pounds 21.95

GEO130-03 Bright, trendy blue watering-can, holds five litres, with big, galvanised rose, pounds 17.50

GEO130-05 Woven edging-hurdles made from hazel, 25cm high x 96cm long pounds 9.95 each

PSO131-07 Nickel-plated storm lantern for a powerless potting-shed, 26cm high, pounds 22.50

RK ALLISTON

183 New Kings Road, London SW6 4SW

Tel: 0171 731 8100

All products delivered nationwide for an additional pounds 10.

Small olive tree, planted in a terracotta pot and presented with a bottle of olive oil, pounds 19.50

Shetland shell, the waste product from fish-processing on the Shetland island of Yell: crushed scallop shells for top-dressing house plants, or outside instead of gravel. A 25kg bag costs pounds 18.75

GROOM BROS

Peck's Drove Nurseries, Spalding, Lincs PE12 6BJ Tel: 01775 722421 Fax: 01775 712252

Six scented Regale lilies to plant in pots for flowering outdoors next summer, pounds 11.20 plus p&p

Dwarf lily collection, three bulbs of five different varieties (15 bulbs in all) pounds 11.64 plus p&p

HORTUS ORNAMENTI

Saltham Barns, Saltham Lane, Runcton, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 6PU, website address www.hortus-ornamenti.co. uk Tel: 01243 782467 Fax: 01243 785844

Delivery charge of pounds 3.50 on orders up to pounds 40.

Slate chalk-board, contained within a hand-made oak frame, 24.5in high x 15.5in across, pounds 65 plus p&p

Copper plant-labels, easily and permanently inscribed using the point of an old ballpoint pen, which indents the soft metal.

T-tags stick in the ground; swing tags need tying to plants. Both are the same price, pounds 4.50 for a pack of 15, pounds 7.50 for a pack of 25, plus p&p

PRESENTS DIRECT

PO Box 19719, London SW15 2WP, www.presentsdirect.com Tel: 0181 246 4366 Fax: 0181 246 4330 p&p pounds 3.95

Wide range of garden-friendly items ranging from trugs to rain gauges, including the folding wheelbarrow (G-1304) made from a polypropylene liner hung on a rust-proof steel frame, 60cm x 107cm when folded, pounds 40

THE GLUTTONOUS GARDENER

Vitis House, 50 Dickens St, London SW8 3EQ Tel: 0207 627 0800 Fax: 0207 627 8300

The Saffron-Lover's Kit, containing a jar of finest saffron and two dozen potted saffron crocus bulbs, pounds 30

Give a Fig, a small tree that can be planted outside, or in a cool conservatory, together with a bottle of black fig vinegar, pounds 35

The Nut Case, a pair of healthy nut trees (full planting and growing instructions provided) packaged with a bottle of hazelnut oil, pounds 35

The Scented Geranium Crate, containing three different scented-leaf geraniums planted in terracotta pots, pounds 28

OCEAN HOME SHOPPING

Freepost LON811, London SW18 4BR Tel: 0870 8484840 Fax: 0870 8484849

p&p, pounds 3.95

PPE204 Pocket tape-measure, compact and well designed in polished aluminium case, length 4.5cm x width 4.5cm x depth 1cm. Measures up to 150cm (5ft, if you order PPE203, marked in feet and inches, rather than centimetres)

ACD037 Long table candle, with 10 separate wicks, to set, like a log, down the centre of your outdoor dining-table, 65cm long x 7cm wide, available in grey, cream or brown, pounds 29.95

DVA048 Three oval earthenware pots, all glazed, off-white, ranging in size from 34-21cm, pounds 59 for the set

NST004 Folding step-stool, easier to move than a ladder. Italian-made, folds flat for storage, perfect for pruning above head height, 86cm x width 40cm x depth 52cm when open, pounds 99

BURGON & BALL

La Plata Works, Holme Lane, Sheffield S6 4JY Tel: 0114 233 8262 Fax: 0114 285 2518

GTW/W9 Waterfall watering-can, ergonomically balanced for easier pouring, oval shape in galvanised steel. Holds two gallons. pounds 19.95

GTS/CGGA Classic one-handed trimming shears, for topiary work, deadheading, and lawn-edging. Like old-fashioned sheep shears, hand-forged from high- carbon Sheffield steel. Overall length 13in, with blades 5.5in, pounds 16.95

GTS/HL Holster for the one-handed classic shears, made from tough, riveted leather and designed to fit on to a belt, pounds 7.49

GTK/CLLA Classic pocket knife, all-purpose knife with a straight blade, made from high-carbon Sheffield steel, with rust-free solid brass fittings and a 4in rosewood handle, blade 3.5in pounds 15.95

MCBEAN'S ORCHIDS

Cooksbridge, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 4PR Tel: 01273 400228 Fax: 01273 401181

Three moth orchids (types of phalaenopsis), one plant already in bud and two reaching maturity, sent anywhere in the UK for pounds 29.95

GARDENS ILLUSTRATED

Subs, Freepost (SWB837), Bristol BS32 0ZZ Tel: 01454 618905 Fax: 01454 620080

A year's subscription (10 issues for pounds 29.50) to the best gardening magazine on offer. Christmas gift subscriptions include a free copy of Laura Stoddart's charming anthology Up the Garden Path

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