9 Brilliant Gifts for the Gardener in Your Life

iStock
iStock

A proven method of relaxation, gardening can ease the stresses of daily life and provide a rich resource for giving homes a unique and colorful identity. If you know someone with a green thumb, consider these 11 gift ideas sure to plant a seed of gratitude.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Succulent Living Wall Planter Kit

Vertical gardening is a conversation-starter, and you can help a friend ignite one with this startling frame that uses hardy moss and a thin layer of mesh to keep succulent plants hanging in there.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $118.

2. Bosmere Watering Can

Sure, your loved ones could use an empty jug to act as a water source for plants—if they enjoy drowning the greenery. Bosmere’s 1-liter watering can is tapered to allow for targeted and steady placement of the water stream, making it ideal for hard-to-reach places without running the risk of too much liquid. The copper material is unlacquered, meaning the can will slowly oxidize with use and eventually slip into a warmly lived-in finish.

Find It at Amazon for $98 and also at these other retailers:

3. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller

If you know someone looking to seize more control over their sprinkler system to help conserve water, the Rachio system is the one to beat. The module can replace virtually any existing central command center, connecting to the Rachio app and allowing for on-the-go control of the timer. Rachio will even synch the system to weather forecasts, easing up when it’s expected to rain.

Find It at Amazon for $145 and these other retailers:

4. Gardener’s Tool Seat

Foldable for storage, this seat cures two of gardening’s most annoying demands: not having a place to sit and not having the right tool within reach. A small stool saves wear on the knees, while 21 pockets and a large pouch under the seat offer room for any implement you need.

Find It at UncommonGoods for $36.

5. "The Taxonomy Fruits & Vegetables"

This sprawling 24 by 36-inch guide, detailing over 300 varieties of fruit, can be hung on the wall for easy reference. From citrus to mangosteens, your giftee will never have to guess how each is related to the other again.

Find It at PopChartLab for $40.

6. Miracle-Gro Aeogarden

If you know someone who wants to keep a supply of fresh herbs for the kitchen but gets lost in the details, Miracle-Gro’s indoor garden is a perfect solution. The soil-free bed can grow cilantro, parsley, dill, and other seasonings using a fool-proof on-board display that offers care instructions in real time.

Find It at Amazon for $135.

7. Hanging Air Plant Terrarium

air planter
Amazon

Known as an “air plant,” the Tillandsia can thrive with little water and soil, making it ideal for this ceiling-mounted orb that’s perfect for the home or office. The set includes two glass homes for your giftee's plant. Bonus: Add moss, and stones to your present to really make an impression.

Find It at Amazon for $14 and also at these other retailers:

8. Kitchen Composter

If making compost sounds unappealing, it’s probably because you haven’t come across the right tool for the job yet. This composter fits neatly under a kitchen sink and accepts food waste to mix with a Bokashi blend to create topsoil for gardens. The airproof lid guarantees no funky smell; the included spigot can also produce liquid fertilizer for houseplants.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $55.

9. Bamboo Work And Gardening Gloves

The biggest inconvenience of gardening: trying to scrub the dirt off your hands. The second-largest: dealing with the sweat produced by rubber-coated gloves. Solution: bamboo, which allows the gloves to breathe, is naturally antibacterial, and ensures a snug fit.

Find It at Amazon for $10.

Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System Is the Only Coffee Maker You’ll Ever Need

Amazon
Amazon

Update: The glass-carafe version of the Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System is currently on sale for $99 (a 50 percent discount) on Amazon and Walmart. That's the cheapest price we've ever seen, so grab it while you can. The thermal-carafe version is on sale on Amazon for $168, a 27 percent discount.

For people who just want a cup of joe to help them get out the door in the morning, the French presses, Chemexes, Aeropresses, Moka pots, and other specialized devices that coffee aficionados swear by probably seem more overwhelming than appealing. Ditto the fancy cappuccino machines at local cafes. That’s where Ninja’s new Hot & Cold Brewed System comes in: It was created to give coffee addicts a myriad of options with minimal fuss, not to mention minimal equipment. And it makes tea, too!

“Coffeehouses are known for having an endless selection, but current at-home brewers haven't given users the vast variety of choice we thought possible, and certainly not all in one product," Mark Rosenzweig, CEO of SharkNinja, said in a press release. "The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System changes the category entirely. This innovative system is more than just a machine you use in the morning; it's your all-day brewing partner.”

The Hot & Cold Brewed System comes with two baskets: one for coffee and one for tea. It knows what you're making to make based on the basket you insert, and the available options for that basket will light up. The machine allows the user to make six different sizes of coffee or tea, from a single cup all the way up to a full 50-ounce (10-cup) carafe.

And of course, as the name suggests, the system can make both hot and iced beverages. For coffee, it has five brew options: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, and specialty (a concentrated brew for milky drinks like cappuccinos). If you’re making tea, you can choose between hot and cold brews optimized for herbal, black, oolong, white, or green tea.

When you select an over ice or cold brew, the machine automatically doubles the strength of your beverage so it doesn't get overly diluted by the ice cubes in the carafe. Even better, the Ninja can make cold brew in just 10 to 15 minutes, whereas other systems and methods typically take hours. (Hot coffee is brewed at 205°F, while the cold brew is made at 101°F.) And the system has a hot and cold frother that folds into the side so you can make barista-level lattes, too.

These bells and whistles sound impressive on paper, but how do they perform in real life? Ninja sent me Hot & Cold Brewed System to test for myself.

Ease of Use

Though it might look like something developed by NASA, the Hot & Cold Brewed System is designed to easily work with the twist of a dial and the push of a button, and it delivers. From loading in the correct amount of grounds with the system’s “smart scoop” to picking what type of brew you’d like, it’s simple enough to use even while bleary-eyed in the morning. It’s also easy to schedule a delayed brew so you can do the rest of your morning routine while your coffee brews. (Here’s the only drawback I can think of about this machine: When it starts brewing, it’s kind of noisy—loud enough to make my cats jump. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you live in a small apartment and plan to brew coffee so that it’s ready right when you wake up, it might be something to consider.)

The system even tells you when it needs to be descaled. The “clean” button will light up, at which point you simply fill the water reservoir with descaling solution and water and press the clean button. A countdown lets you know how much longer the clean cycle will last.

Taste and Flavor

I swapped out an old, cheap coffee maker for the Hot & Cold Brewed System, and the difference was immediately noticeable. Whether hot or cold, the coffee made by the H&CBS was a better, smoother cup of joe. That’s due to what Ninja has dubbed Thermal Flavor Extraction automated brewing technology, which, according to a press release, “knows the precise temperatures, correct bloom times, and proper levels of saturation for every possible beverage combination to ensure a great taste every time.”

Whatever tech they use, it works. The coffee I make in this machine is consistently tasty. The rich brew setting works exactly as advertised, too, providing a richer, bolder flavor than the classic brew.

Features and Accessories

One of the best things about the H&CBS is the fact that it cuts down on waste significantly. Unlike other machines, it doesn't require any plastic pods or paper filters. Instead, it comes with two permanent filters, one for coffee and one for tea.

And the cold brew function is a game changer if you prefer iced coffee to hot. Not only does it brew quickly, but it eliminates the messy cleanup that comes with making cold brew yourself.

Typically priced at $230 for the thermal carafe version (or $200 for the glass carafe), the Hot & Cold Brewed System is significantly more expensive than a simpler drip coffee machine. But if you’re a cold brew addict looking to treat yourself, it’s worth it. Consider springing for the slightly more expensive thermal carafe model, which will keep your java hot or cold for hours. (I’ve left ice in it overnight and found cubes the next morning.)

You can get the Hot & Cold Brewed System on Amazon, Walmart, Macy's, or directly on Ninja’s website starting at $160.

The Best Deals to Take Advantage Of on Prime Day Today (Updated)

Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Amazon
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Amazon

Shop Amazon's full Prime Day sale here. To see more of our favorite deals, check out our daily deals page.

Each July, Amazon celebrates its founding by throwing a massive sale, slashing prices to levels not seen since Black Friday. This year, Prime Day is actually two days—Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16. The sheer breadth of discounted goods can be overwhelming, so we're rounding up the best ones as we find them. Peruse our favorite sales below, and don't forget to check back in with us throughout Prime Day, because we'll be updating this post with flash deals as they appear.

Up to 35 Percent Off Kindle E-Readers

Kindle e-readers don't go on sale all that often, and Prime Day has some of the best deals we've seen this year. You can get a Kindle Paperwhite—which is waterproof for reading at the pool or in the bath tub—for just $85 (a $45 discount). The most basic Kindle is just $60, while the Oasis is $175 (down from $200 last month). Right now, you can get three free months of Kindle Unlimited and a $5 credit toward an e-book with all three models.

Shop: Amazon Kindle

Big Discounts on Electric Toothbrushes

A Sonicare toothbrush
Philips Sonicare

A number of high-end electric toothbrushes from both Philips Sonicare and Oral-B are on sale today, including some picks recommended by dentists Mental Floss spoke to earlier this year. The Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean, recommended for patients with sensitive teeth, is $35 off, while you can get Sonicare's all-around powerhouse, the DiamondClean, for $84 off. The Sonicare FlexCare Platinum, which features a 3-minute timer for deep cleaning trouble spots, is $67 off. The HealthyWhite+ might represent the best deal, though—at just $49, it's almost 60 percent off list price right now.

Shop: Philips Sonicare, Oral-B

Almost 40 Percent Off Roomba Robot Vacuums

Prime Day is a great time to buy big-ticket gadgets and home appliances, so if you've been on the fence about buying a robot vacuum, go ahead and splurge today. The Roomba 891 vacuum features a 90-minute runtime, app-based controls, and the ability to tackle both hardwood and carpets with ease. Normally $450, it's just $300 today. The newer Roomba 980 is just $550, a $350 discount off list price.

Shop: iRobot

20 Percent Off Neato Botvac Robot Vacuums

A Neato robot vacuum next to a smartphone open to the Neato app
Neato

In one of Monday's Lightning Deals, the Neato D7 robot vacuum is on sale for 20 percent off from 1:15 p.m. Eastern Time/10:15 a.m. Pacific to 7:15 p.m. Eastern/4:15 p.m. Pacific on Monday, July 15. It's now just $530, or $300 off the retail price. Note: This deal has now expired.

Update: Now, the Neato D4 is on sale as well: For Monday night, it's 20 percent off from 6:35 p.m. Eastern/3:35 p.m. Pacific to 12:35 a.m Eastern/9:35 p.m. Pacific. It's $320, compared to a retail price of $530.

Shop: Neato

$20 Off Animal-Shaped Pool Toys

A woman lounges in a llama-shaped pool float
Poolcandy

There's plenty of summer left to spend lounging in the pool. Poolcandy's 48-inch, animal-shaped rafts are all on sale for just $20. Get an oversized floating narwhal, llama, giraffe, or unicorn.

Shop: Poolcandy

$75 Off the Gravity Blanket

Though many people find weighted blankets to be a calming respite for anxiety and sleeplessness, the hefty comforters usually come with a hefty price tag. Amazon doesn't usually have many weighted blankets on sale, which makes today's Gravity Blanket deal particularly exciting. You can get the 15-pound, 20-pound, and 25-pound versions of the Kickstarter favorite for just $175 today—a $75 discount. The upgraded cooling version (in 15-pound20-pound and 25-pound options) is also discounted at $187.

Shop: Gravity Products

Up to 38 Percent Off SodaStream Bundles

An SodaStream Fizzi with two extra bottles, two carbon dioxide cylinders, and two flavor bottles.
SodaStream

SodaStream is offering discounts on several of its models for Prime Day. You can get the most basic SodaStream, the Jet, for $50, or upgrade to a bundle with three carbonating bottles, two carbon dioxide cannisters, and two Fruit Drops flavor bottles for $80. You can get SodaStream Fizzi electric sparkling water maker with three carbonating bottles, two carbon dioxide cannisters, and two Fruit Drops flavors for $120. Meanwhile, outside of the Amazon ecosystem, Target is offering its own limited-time SodaStream deal: You can get a Fizzi with one carbonating bottle and one carbon dioxide cannister for $90, a discount of 25 percent. (Note: The Mental Floss office in New York City has its own Fizzi, and it's well worth the upgrade for the one-touch electric carbonation.)

Shop: SodaStream

20 Percent Off Just the Cheese Snacks

Crunchy cheese? Yes please. Just the Cheese (which makes 100-percent cheese snacks, as the name implies) is knocking 20 percent off the price of its variety packs, which come with 12 packs in four different flavors. Each pack comes with two bars, so technically you get 24 crunchy cheese snacks with each order. For your $22 sale price, you get four packs each of aged cheddar, mild cheddar, grilled cheese, and jalapeño cheese flavors.

Shop: Just the Cheese

35 Percent Off KIND Bars

A KIND chocolate peanut butter snack bar
KIND

You can get 35 percent off boxes of KIND snack bars today. That includes 32-count boxes of KIND's new nut-butter-filled bars—available in almond butter or peanut butter—as well as 12-count boxes of classics like the Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt bars and Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate bars.

Shop: KIND

50 Percent Off One Item From Amazing Baby

If you're in the market for a swaddle, plush toys, or other baby product, Amazing Baby is offering first-time customers half off any one item with the promo code 50Welcome. If you're buying for someone else, go with the three-piece gift set.

Shop: Amazing Baby

Competing Deals From Other Retailers

Amazon's competitors are determined to get in on the Prime Day shopping madness, so you can get big discounts at other retailers right now, too.

At Macy's, you'll want to use the code SHOPIT to get 25 percent off Black Friday in July deals. You'll also want to check in on Target's daily deals for July 15 and 16, because they're sure to be more dramatic than usual right now—especially on Target-exclusive brands and products.

If you're heading to the great outdoors this summer, pop into Igloo's cooler sale: You can get 50 percent off the brand's Sportsman waterproof coolers (they come in bag or backpack form) with the code SPORT50.

And if you're in the market for a new mattress, Allswell's wildly popular bedding options are 15 percent off through Wednesday with the code JULY15

To see all of Amazon's current deals, head to the site's Prime Day landing page.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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