Gardeners on your holiday gift list might appreciate a decorative
basket or pot, or functional garden trug, filled with handy
gardening items. Plus, they're fun to put together. Some items to
consider are ratchet hand pruners, an ergonomic trowel, fragrant
soap, hand lotion, plant tags, paperwhite narcissus or amaryllis
bulbs, and bird feeders. There are many specialty gloves to choose
from for gifts, including ones that are padded, water-resistant,
insulated, or with long sleeves (great for pruning roses and
brambles). If considering weather gear, look into digital and
wireless thermometers and rain gauges.
There are some quite attractive light stands for starting seeds
and growing plants indoors. For that special person or big gift,
what about a cold frame or even small hobby greenhouse? If still
no idea what a person would like, what about a gift certificate to
a garden store or nursery? Or, give a coupon for some help in the
garden or landscape, weeding or mowing or other.
There are many garden books to choose from for gift ideas, both
instructive how-to ones and ones to inspire. Ones by the authors
include the Fruit Gardenerís Bible, New England Month by Month
Gardening, and Foodscaping: A Practical and Innovative
Way to Create an Edible Landscape.
If you brought in your annual geranium plants this fall and are
growing them indoors this winter, chances are theyíre getting
leggy by now. The cloudy, short days of November and December
don't provide enough light for these plants to thrive. Cut back
the plants to about one foot tall. They will resprout and grow
bushier in the longer days of late winter.
Amaryllis, cyclamen, and most other blooming holiday plants will
last longer if kept on the cool side and out of direct sunlight.
If you wish to make sure some flowers don't fade before a big
event, you can keep the plants in a cool room or part of the house
(preferably above 50 degrees F) for a few days and bring them out
the day you need them.
Cyclamen in particular prefer cool temperatures, so keep them
back from south-facing windows that heat up during the day.
Cyclamen also need even moisture, so donít allow them to wilt and
definitely donít keep them too wet or they may rot. Youíll find
these in stores and at florists in many colors including reds,
pinks, purple and white, and in both large- and small-flowered
Feel the soil of your houseplants. When it's dry an inch or so
deep, apply enough water so it comes out the bottom drainage hole.
The larger the pot, the longer you can wait in between watering.
The larger the plant, and more root bound within the pot, the more
often you may need to water. If you have a fireplace or
forced-air heat, you may have to water small pots or hanging ones
every couple of days. In general, I find once a week works for
most houseplants, less for cacti and succulents. If in doubt,
donít water, as too little water is better than too much. You
also can buy watering meters which alert you when watering may be
Return to Perry's Perennial Pages: Green Mountain Gardener Articles-- your reliable source of gardening information for over 50 years.