2009-11-26 / Features

Gifting the Gardeners on Your List

The Potting Shed
By Carole McCray

Lavender in Clay Pot Lavender in Clay Pot Novice or master gardener, a gardening gift exists for either of these persons on your list.

For practical gifts such as garden trowels, gardening gloves, knee pads and other digging and planting tools, a visit to your local garden center or favorite hardware store will be a good place to check out such items.

Garden hoses, garden carts for storing hoses and water sprinklers are other garden accessories that make ideal garden gifts. Garden sprinklers can be found in unusual shapes, great for adding a decorative touch to the garden.

There are new gardenfriendly tools to make gardening easier and more comfortable; so go ergonomic and look for thicker, padded handles on trowels, wrist-friendly rotating pruners, back-easing angled handles on shovels and replace the wheelbarrow with a large-wheeled garden cart.

Houseplants are nice gifts to present during the holidays because avid gardeners miss being outside working in their gardens. Add a book on the care of the plant. Giving a houseplant as a gift might inspire and motivate a beginning gardener to try his or her hand at gardening, America’s number one hobby.

Lavender Birdbath Lavender Birdbath Some gifts to add to the list are items for tending to houseplants—plant food, plant misters, pretty watering can, decorative pots, potting soil and books on houseplant maintenance. If you give a houseplant as a gift, be sure to have instructions for how to care for the plant: watering needs, amount of light required and other important considerations for a healthy plant. Some of the following houseplants are great for indoor gardening – an orchid, a potted palm or airy fern, succulents, African violets, streptocarpus and amaryllis, or bulbs for forcing indoor blooms.

Your local library, favorite bookstore or the Internet will help you find some current gardening books for the gardener on your list. Learn what interests that gardener on your list. So if it is roses that fascinate, there are plenty of books on that topic; for someone who wants to garden but is short on gardening space, look for a book on container gardening and if a friend is interested in organic gardening or composting, loads of information is available on those popular topics.

Gifts for the gardener can fill up a basket – for bird lovers, fill a basket with bird seed for attracting specific birds, a sturdy squirrel proof birdfeeder and a book on the birds most commonly found at feeders in the wintertime – chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, blue jays, grosbeaks, woodpeckers and cardinals.

To further encourage a novice gardener or to treat that seasoned gardener, how about a subscription to a gardening magazine, a gift certificate to a gardening catalog or your local garden center or nursery. A gift certificate to tour a public garden would be a welcome gift for that special gardener on your list.

There are societies geared for a specific garden interest, and another gift idea would be gifting someone with a membership. There are so many of these societies which are organizations for gardeners interested in growing just about anything from roses to rock gardens to growing hostas. Members learn about a particular plant and enjoy other benefits of the organization like meetings throughout the year, newsletters and sharing gardening information and ideas with other members.

Often if you check the library, high school, garden clubs or local community college, there could be classes or lectures on an assortment of gardening topics. These are nice to attend when the garden is at rest and lots of information is available to help you learn more about gardening. Signing up a gardening friend for one of these workshops, seminars or classes is another gift possibility, and you might offer to pay the fee for a friend to attend the class with you.

It’s not too early to educate children about the benefits of gardening, especially if you know of some young people that love to follow you around in the garden and are inquisitive about how things grow. Books on gardening for young children are a good starting point.

A fun indoor gardening project with young children is to force bulbs indoors during the winter months. Paperwhites, amaryllis, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are bulbs ideal for forcing. The spring bulbs forced in a container can be moved outdoors if you time the forcing right; move the container outdoors with the blooming bulbs once the danger of frost has passed.

Garden ornaments such as garden lights, statuary, garden markers, a sundial, a birdbath and a fountain are welcome additions to a garden. Arbors and trellises are fine for gardeners wanting to try planting vertical with vines.

Know your gardener and what kind of gardening he or she does and your gift will be one that keeps on giving.

A few recommendations to check out.
Gardening Magazines:
Horticulture
Fine Gardening
The Herb Quarterly
Organic Gardening
Garden Catalogs:
White Flower Farm
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
Parke Seeds
Lilypons Water Gardens

Carole McCray lives, writes and gardens in the scenic Laurel Highlands east of Ligonier, PA. She is an award-winning writer; her most recent award was the Garden Writers Association Award for her article on Native Seeds which appeared in The Christian Science Monitor newspaper. She can be reached at mountain26@ verizon.net.

Photos courtesy of Campania International.

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