2010-12-09 / Features

Garden Gifts For You

The Potting Shed
By Carole McCray

McCray McCray Gifting oneself is often relegated to putting yourself last on the gift giving list. To keep the gardening spirit alive until you can dig in the dirt again, think about some gardening items for carrying you through the winter doldrums.

A visit to your local garden center or nursery could be the first place to go shopping for yourself. At this time of the year, houseplants are readily available. You might want to go exotic and look at orchids, bromeliads or ferns. These plants will lend a tropical look to your home and bring a touch of the islands indoors during the snowy winter days.

For a soothing, relaxing touch to your home or office, why not an indoor water fountain. On a tabletop, wall or floor, an indoor water fountain can bring a relaxing, soothing feeling to your environment. The sound of trickling water lends a tranquil feeling to the environment; it can help muffle annoying sounds like traffic or a barking dog; purifies the air and creates a calming ambience to your surroundings. Fountains can be glass, terracotta, pottery or copper.

Orchid Orchid Try your hand at the gardening art of topiary. Handcrafted wire forms are welded from galvanized steel wire in a variety of shapes; a sphere is the most popular. Animal shapes are popular to turn ivy, boxwood or rosemary into topiaries resembling a swan, a turtle or a frog just to name a few.

Every gardener needs a good watering can. The traditional English steel cans generally have brass trimmed handles and detachable roses have brass face plates. One of these brass-trimmed watering cans is not only functional but is a beautiful garden ornament.

Another elegant addition to your garden and functional, too, is the garden bench. Generally in teak or cypress the garden loveseat weathers to a silvery gray. My garden bench is cypress and has remained smooth through the years and no rotting or warping has occurred.

Growing seedlings indoors is a popular indoor winter gardening activity. Grow lights to keep seedlings going until they can be set outside are one way to get a head start on gardening.

Garden tools are a necessity. The ergonomic tools are ideal for those who have difficulty grasping handles. Ergonomic tools are made with cushioned grip handles and make weeding, pruning and planting more manageable.

Birds frequent the garden searching for food. From indoors when the weather turns cold and snow blankets the ground, put out the birdfeeders for chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers and cardinals, some of winter’s most frequent visitors in search of sustenance. There are squirrel proof feeders, and there are feeders designed for certain birds to make their feeding easy.

You can really go on a shopping excursion. It might end up like this – you are enjoying your exotic houseplants as you sit and listen to your new indoor water fountain and check on the seedlings under the state-ofthe art grow light while you view the many birds feasting at your birdfeeders. Then of course there is the ultimate gift to you – your own greenhouse, a place to continue your passion for gardening throughout the year.

If not making a purchase for yourself, there is that chance that your wish list might be checked out by a thoughtful someone. If you are on the receiving end, your garden gift could keep you content until your spring bulbs bloom.

More gifts ideas to treat yourself:

Outdoor weather clock tells time, temperature and humidity from windandweather.com

Garden clothing – hats, pants and shirts to repel bugs.

Garden boots and clogs.

Garden statuary.

Gardening pots – glazed and stone.

Decorative garden markers for perennials and herbs.

A sundial.

A calendar from The Old Farmer’s Almanac with gardening information or one from the Wildflower Center with closeups of North American wildflowers, space for writing and informative text.

A magazine subscription to Fine Gardening or Horticulture.

Carole McCray lives, writes and gardens in the scenic Laurel Hihglands 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. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Bullene, Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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