It’s beginning to feel a lot like . . .
We scoured scores of catalogs.
We devoured a myriad of mailings.
And we found the best of the best: Those gifts that have presence and are sure to please anyone on your gift guide this holidaze season.
It was a tough call, but Petrucelli Picks for the best mail-order products come from two sources: Gardener’s Supply (www.gardeners.com) and Orvis (www.orvis.com).
Now taking center stage . . .
Fits to a T
When you drop one of these tea balls into the clear glass teapot, an amazing transformation takes place as the ball opens and “blooms” into a beautiful flower. Let the flower steep for a few minutes and the fragrant tea is ready to sip. Each ball is made from the highest quality silver needle white tea that has been combined with other herbs, including calendula, jasmine and hibiscus. The set includes a 24-ounce glass teapot with stainless steel strainer, 8 different tea balls and 2 sachets of loose tea. (www.gardeners.com)
When pigs fly
And here’s proof they do. This hand-painted metal porker is a delightful, three-dimensional work of art for your garden, lawn, even a large planter. This piggy promises to age to a pleasing, rusty patina when left outdoors. But don’t worry: She (her name is Petunia) comes with four-inch ground stakes to anchor it securely in the ground. And outstanding ornamental oinker. (www.gardeners.com)
You’ll be the talk of the town in these wellies featuring unqiue garden-inspired designs. They’ll be your go-to boot in the garden or out and about—rain or shine. A cut above ordinary rain boots, they have a tough natural rubber outer, quick-drying fabric liner, removable insole and deep-lugged soles for traction on slippery surfaces. They’re about 10.5 inches high, a comfortable 2-3 inches below the knee on most people. Choose from the cutest patterns. The boots comes in women’s sizes 6-11. If you wear a half size or will wear socks with these wellies, we recommend ordering the next whole size up. (www.gardeners.com)
For the birds
Perch this handsome bird-style indoor watering can near your kitchen sink and you’ll always remember to water your houseplants. It’s whimsically designed to look like a rail (stop Googling: a rail is a bird that inhabits wetlands) and it easy to fill. As attractive as it is functional. (www.gardeners.com)
For the birds, part deux
Your backyard birds will love this unique one-stop feeder. In fair weather, they can perch on the rim to dine. When it’s wet and windy, they can hop inside to eat. The extra thick crackle glass sparkles when it catches the light. Drainage holes keep seed dry. The feeder holds two cups of seed, and comes in a trio of colors: Harvest Moon, Blue Moon or Purple Moon. (www.gardeners.com)
For the bird, part trois
Artisans in Jaipur, India craft these birdfeeders using a 200-year-old technique that transforms ground quartz into very durable—and very beautiful—pottery. The rich cobalt blue brightens the winter landscape, and drainage holes keep seed dry.
What’s the buzz?
Boost your garden’s productivity by providing a happy home for peaceful, non-stinging Mason bees. Slightly smaller than honeybees, mason bees are incredible pollinators. Each one visits as many as 1,000 blooms per day—20 times as many as a honeybee. Hang this natural bamboo house against a tree or wall where it will get morning sun and attract bees. Female bees fill the bamboo tubes with their eggs, and nectar and pollen for the young to eat. (www.gardeners.com)
Laps of luxury
Gardener’s Supply Company’s lap blankets feel like a cozy hug after a stressful day. Simply warm them in the microwave for 3-4 minutes then wrap it around your shoulders and indulge in the calming warmth and soothing fragrance. Made of ultra-soft, washable chenille and filled with rice and flax; available in natural lavender (lavender in color), eucalyptus (spring green) or unscented (aquamarine).
What a crock
Collect kitchen scraps in this charming, block-printed ceramic crock. Resembling an antique pickle crock, it will look right at home on your countertop . . . and no one but you will know what’s inside. Cute, discreet and odors are controlled by the two (included) activated charcoal filters. (www.gardeners.com)
Stop rummaging around in your purse for your lip balm, makeup, loose change, cell phone or other small items—simply stow them in one of these convenient, colorful zippered pouches for easy access. Durable wool felt is handcrafted with fun details. The quartet of designs (feather, fritillaria, pear and poppy) is all delights. (www.gardeners.com)
Good for what ales you
Who would have thought . . . Enjoy a cold beverage on a warm day in style with this leather beer cozy. It’s almost too good to use on cheap brew. The neoprene lining keeps drinks cool, while preventing condensation, and the leather feels so comfy. (www.orvis.com)
A few good men (and women)
What a nifty way to honor the military branch in which he/she has served. This well-appointed beverage set includes four double-old-fashioned glasses and a glass decanter, all featuring the emblem of his/her service branch: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. Cheers! (www.orvis.com)
Roll the dice
Everything old is new again. Variations of the classic English pub game known as Shut the Box have been played since the 12th century. Orvis’ solid wood set allows for two-person to simultaneous play. A side note: Shut the Box is also the basis of the popular TV quiz show High Rollers. (www.orvis.com)