Gardeners may be the easiest people in the world to buy Christmas gifts for. After all, how hard is it to please a person who digs in the dirt? Then again, if you don’t like to get your hands dirty, it may not be such an easy task after all. Perhaps buying gifts for gardeners is a classic case of “it takes one to know one.” So, if you know a gardener but aren’t one, here are some gift suggestions for that special person in your life who has a green thumb.
Gloves – The dirty secret’s out! Sometimes even dyed-in-the-wool gardeners like to keep their hands clean. Think bright colors and thin material that protects the skin but still makes handling small plants easy.
Hats – A college professor at a major southern university makes his students write an essay on skin cancer if they come to an outdoor class without a hat.
For the birds
Feeders – Garden centers have recognized the national interest in bird feeding and are devoting an increasing amount of shelf space to our feathered friends.
Seed – And if you have a feeder, you need...
Nesting pouches – A fun way to attract birds to your garden.
Bulbs for forcing – What would the holidays be without artfully planted compositions of paper whites or narcissus for forcing indoors? And don’t forget the impact of a single amaryllis. All are great garden pick-me-ups during the middle of winter. And, there’s a bonus. Narcissus will re-bloom when planted in the garden. So will amaryllis, at least up to USDA Zone 7. Bulb compositions in glass vases of different sizes and shapes that show the layers of soil and rock beneath the bulbs are especially interesting.
Bulbs as hostess gifts – Instead of taking a bottle of wine to a holiday party, give a hostess who is gardener a festively wrapped bag of bulbs for indoor forcing or spring planting. Hint: These would also make great stocking stuffers.
Dish gardens or terrariums – Think clean, simple indoor gardens, especially dry dish gardens for plants such as succulents that don't like wet feet.
Terrariums – There’s nothing like having tropical plants such as bromeliads and mosses that like a wet environment growing happily in your den or living room to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when it’s cold outside.
Winter-blooming perennials – New varieties of Hellebores with upright white blooms brighten gray winter days and are priced right – under $20.
Botanical garden memberships – Many gardens offer special gift memberships during the holidays.
Gift certificates – Think about giving the old standby a little twist. With the nationwide interest in organic school gardens, your child’s teacher just might appreciate a gift certificate to a local organic garden center.
Mini hoop house – Inexpensive to buy and easy to construct, you can be the envy of your neighbors with fresh lettuce and salad greens all winter.
Totes – Canvas tote bags, especially those with pouches on the sides, are an easy way to keep a variety of small tools handy wherever you go in the garden.
Window hydroponics - With an indoor window farm, you can grow, herbs, salad greens and even strawberries or cherry tomatoes without dirt. How cool is that?
Hori hori knife – Remember the line from Crocodile Dundee? “That’s not a knife. This is a knife.” Well, this is a knife! The hori hori is from Japan and is a multi-purpose stainless steel tool that will dig, weed, cut, scrape and saw. But, if it’s more knife than you want, you can always get a …
Pocket knife – What gardener doesn’t need one for harvesting vegetables or for other small jobs?
Pruners – Who wants a scraggly garden?
Pruning saw – When a hand pruner won’t do.
Envirocycle composter – And when the holidays are over, don’t put your Christmas tree on the street. Compost it, and let it help you grow next summer’s tomatoes.
Photos: Tom Oder