I think my gardening friends and relatives are the easiest people to buy for on my Christmas list. This is partly because I get so many garden-related catalogs with great ideas and partly because I choose gifts that I would like to receive.
Garden Gift Idea 1 – Garden Gloves
Depending on your budget, thoughtful gifts can be as simple as a basket of a variety of gardening gloves. You might want to get ones that are lightweight for summer tasks or heavy, long-sleeved leather ones for working around roses.
Most of the pairs should be in the mid-weight range for weeding or general work. I like the nutrile ones for most chores as they fit my hands nicely and allow me to pick up small sticks or slimy objects like slugs. But I certainly need heavy duty ones for clearing new garden areas or breaking ground with a shovel.
To be smart, I will buy them all in the same color so I can easily replace lost ones or ones that have poked-out fingers. Gloves come in a wide range of prices from $4 to $24 a pair.
Garden Gift Idea 2 – Small Blade-Shovel
If you are looking for something in the line of tools, I might recommend a small-bladed shovel.
My father-in-law introduced me to this handy tool over 20 years ago. He called it a “lady’s shovel” as the blade is smaller than a regular shovel or spade. But I have seen them in garden centers and hardware stores since then with the more politically-correct name of “flower shovel.”
Although I use a regular shovel for large jobs, when it comes to transplanting perennials, this tool can’t be beat. Mine has a nice long handle which gives good leverage. I have used the same shovel for those 20 years and it’s my “go-to” tool of choice for planting or transplanting. They run about $20-$35 for a good one.
Garden Gift Idea 3 – Bird Houses/Bird Feeders
For gardeners who are also birders, there are very nice bird houses and bird feeders out there. In fact, some are so pretty I would classify them as “yard art.” These come in a wide range of prices, so it should be easy to find ones that fit your budget. Pair a feeder with a sack of good quality bird food or even a bird ID guide, and this makes a nice gift even for birders who don’t garden.
Garden Gift Idea 4 – Homemade Garden Stepping Stones
If you have more time than money and are creative, how about creating a set of stepping stones for the garden? I have made several mosaic ones using a pre-made stone and using bits of stained glass to create an unusual and unique gift.
These will take some time, however, but they will be treasured gifts in the end. Of course, you could do just one mosaic stepping stone and let the rest of the set be plain.
Garden Gift Idea 5 – Garden Books and Magazines
And of course, I always can find loads of nice gardening books. Some are more like coffee table books with wonderful photos of gardens all over the world. Others are better for teaching and when it comes to gardening, there are countless how-to books.
The hard part here will be to find one your gardener doesn’t already have. I do try to read a chapter or at least leaf through a book to make sure it is suitable for the level of expertise of your particular gardener.
Magazines may be passé, but there are a lot of good gardening ones. Some are for educating and some are simply beautifully done with loads of glossy photos to allow some garden dreaming. And a subscription is something that will keep on giving the entire year, making it a special gift. Your friend will be reminded of you each time it comes in the mail.
Garden Gift Idea 6 – Perhaps not Art?
One thing I have learned not to give as gifts is garden art. I find this is a very personal thing and unless you know the gardener’s taste very well, steer clear.
Of course if you happen to be shopping together, you can pick up on little hints in which case I would say “go for it.” Sometimes garden art is a splurge that we wouldn’t make on ourselves but if given as a gift, it can become a treasure.
Last but not least….
I like to shop locally – no matter where “local” is – for my gardening friends. Even a gift certificate to a local nursery would be a welcome present, especially if you pair it with a certificate to drive to the nursery and take your friend to lunch after you shop. Time spent with good friends, after all, is the most precious gift of we can give or get.
What fun things are you shopping for this season? Do you have something special on your list for Santa?
~ Carla Albright, Tillamook County Oregon Master Gardener