If you’ve got gardeners on your gift-giving list this holiday season, impress them with your horticultural insight by buying them something they’ll actually use. You’ll feel great, and they’ll love you for it. Here’s a list of gift options that no gardener in his or her right mind would pass up.
Gardening gloves and knee pads. You can never have enough of these elusive items — they wear out, get lost, shack up with all those lost socks, etc.
A truckload of manure or compost. Gardeners’ gold! You might want to let the recipient know it’s coming before the truck shows up at the door. Give this gift an added boost by promising to help spread it!
Gift certificates to local nurseries, great mail-order nurseries, tool catalogs, and so on. If this is too vague for you, try a theme — gift certificates for specialized nurseries (bamboo, antique roses, alpine plants, etc.), fabulous ceramic pots, specific garden artisan studios, etc. If you think gift certificates are boring gifts, you’ve never had the pleasure of spending one…
Tickets to a great garden tour in the area. Gardeners always enjoy this sort of thing, even if they have to be dragged out of their own garden to attend.
A membership or season passes to a public garden or arboretum. Many memberships include free admission, invitations to special events and classes, and seed lists!
A gift membership in a plant society or conservation group. Another way to get access to great seed exchanges, or to be a part of making the world a better place to live in. What more could you ask for?
A subscription to a favorite gardening magazine. How about Fine Gardening? If they already subscribe, you can extend their subscription for another year.
Garden reference books are also a good choice. You can never have enough! We’re partial to the American Horticultural Society’s A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.
A really nice compost pail for the kitchen to replace that nasty old plastic container. Check out the stainless-steel models at www.leevalley.com. Spice up this gift with some compost activator, a compost aerator, or a nice cuddly package of red wriggler worms!
Great tools. Sometimes it’s hard to buy tools for a fanatic — the sale model is not usually the desirable one, and may be put in the back of the closet as soon as it’s unwrapped. You cannot go wrong with certain brands — Felco pruners, Haws watering cans, and Wellington boots, for example. You can find a wide range of good-quality tools at A. M. Leonard.
A roll-up hammock for enjoying the garden. While a permanent fixture is an item that may require a personal decision, a hammock that can easily be rolled up and stowed away will always be appreciated next summer. Check out the selection at www.hammocks.com.
A good-quality rain gauge or max/min thermometer, or maybe even a weather radio! We gardeners tend to get a little obsessive about weather. You can’t go wrong at www.windandweather.com.
A really nice garden hose. We’ve all bought the cheap ones. When it comes to garden hoses, you get what you pay for. The nice ones make such a difference, but we rarely indulge ourselves…
Personal bug netting. Ever experienced blackflies in the Northeast? This gift will show that you really care. You can cover the whole body with selections from www.leevalley.com.
Above all, an IOU for manpower — and stick to it. Don’t forget that you’ve offered, and make sure the lucky recipient takes you up on it…
Drawings: Michelle Gervais