In winter, the gardener and the armchair reader likely have one thing in common: chapped, dry hands, whether from the cold outdoor air or from the dry heat of the fire. Luckily, a cache of effective natural balms and salves will soothe skin throughout the winter months. As a gift, they’re thoughtful, practical, and sure to please—and with pretty packaging, they can be popped into a stocking, no wrapping needed. Here are a few we like:
Above: Herbal Skin Balm from West Coast apothecary S/he Studio has “calendula flower, comfrey leaf, chamomile, and lavender,” and can be used anywhere there’s dry, chapped skin. “Think lips, elbows, hands, cuticles, knees, and minor scratches,” they say. A half-ounce tin is $12. Above: Smith’s Rosebud Salve is a trusty standby; it’s has been around since 1895, when it was first made in Woodsboro, Maryland. It’s inexpensive, yet has an appealing old-time look to it, and is readily available from many pharmacies, including C.O. Bigelow, where a .8-ounce tin is $6.50. Above: A tube of Gardener’s Hand Salve from Switzerland-based apothecary Green Laboratorium has olive, beeswax, and Vitamin E, among other ingredients; $21.92 via Etsy. Above: We’ve long been fans of the All Heal Salve from Toronto-based herbalist Denise Williams, which soothes skin with ingredients including comfrey, burdock, plantain leaf, chamomile, and lavender (we like it so much that we included it in our Gardenista 100 list of timeless products in the Gardenista book). A tin is $18 from Matter Company. Above: This handsome jar of Maker’s Hand Balm by Old Faithful is intended for potters, woodworkers, and others who make things with their hands—a group that surely includes gardeners. It’s hand-blended in Wales with shea butter and calendula; £27 ($35.96) from The Future Kept. Above: A tin of A to Z All-Purpose Healing Balm with comfrey, calendula, and peppermint from Field Apothecary in New York’s Hudson Valley is $20 (and is also available via Alder + Co).
More botanical gifts for the hardworking gardener: