Every year, my dad’s birthday falls just after Father’s Day. This year, it’s the week after. I appreciate that he will often tell me and my siblings specifically what he wants when we ask, but sometimes I like to surprise him as well. For someone who seemingly has everything, I often struggle with what these surprise presents should be.

I consider his hobbies. In his free time, he likes golf and gardening. Growing up a golfer myself, and often surrounded by friends and relatives who are avid golfers, I know that most presents related to golf go unused (unless they are balls). It is hard to buy something for a sport without knowing a person’s specific needs. This leaves me with gardening. I am not an avid gardener, but I know enough to ask those who are. After consulting with many gardener friends, I’ve compiled this list of the top must-have gardening tools:

• Hori-Hori: This is a Japanese hand soil knife that takes the trowel to another level. Rather than a flat shovel on the end, this tool implements a serrated blade, is sharp on both sides, and often includes standard measurements on the blade. This allows gardeners to use the tool for cutting like a knife, sawing, digging and measuring, all with one hand.

• Compression gloves: There’s a reason why athletes wear compression socks. The compression allows for easier blood flow through the veins, which can help to reduce swelling. In the garden, compression gloves work great for adding support and reducing pain, especially for gardeners who spend a lot of time working or for those who have arthritis. Not to mention, they function similarly to traditional gardening gloves, which protect your hands and improve your grip.

• Work seat: Using a seat allows you to skip kneeling and crouching down, which can save your back and your knees from unnecessary strain. Work seats often come with a bonus of hidden storage and allow for easy mobility with wheels.

• Hand pruner: Scissors and shears will often do the trick, but every now and then you will come across hardier stems that need some extra strength.

Hand pruners work well for cutting branches and larger flowers, and they come in ergonomic models that reduce pressure and wear on your wrists.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com