HOLIDAY GARDEN GIFTS FOR ALL
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Giving gifts this holiday season doesn't have to be a challenge or struggle as it is for many of us. Just think gardening, and you'll come up with ideas for gardeners and even non-gardeners.
For the non-gardeners, there are garden-related gifts either functional, beautiful, or both. Potted tender bulbs such as paperwhites and amaryllis just need water to grow and bloom. A floral piece of jewelry or bouquet of flowers might be welcome.
Non-gardeners who like the outdoors might enjoy a garden bench, comfortable outdoor furniture, or wind chimes. If a cook, consider giving an apple corer, apple peeler, cider press, juice extractor, or food dehydrator.
If the person likes birds, consider giving a new or different bird feeder, a heated bird bath, scope for bird watching, or crafted hummingbird feeder for next year. Or perhaps they would enjoy a membership in a non-profit bird group, such as FeederWatch run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/)
There are special gifts you can give that are hired and done by a specialist. This might include an aerial photo of someone's garden at peak season. Landscapers can provide a detailed plan for the redesign of someone's garden. Or some might be hired as an expert-for-a-day. A woodworker might craft a birdhouse designed as a miniature replica of someone's house!
You might even give a share in a CSA (Community Support Agriculture). These are local programs, often run by non-profit groups, which you help support, and in return you get a share of the produce grown.
Give a gift of your time in the form of a coupon. Make the coupon for such activities as spring transplanting, weeding, watering, mowing, and raking. You might include a coupon for delivery of compost. Most might enjoy a coupon to see a spring flower show. And for the gardener with tired muscles, perhaps a coupon or gift certificate for a massage!
Gifts from your garden include ones you or others craft or cook. You might put together a recipe book with pictures from your garden. You can make, or buy at craft shows, homemade fruit sauces, jams, jellies, or dried herbs for dips and cooking. Herbal vinegars can be put into decorative bottles. Other herbs such as lavender can be put into sachets to freshen drawers and linen, and hops into sleep pillows.
Crafts include grape, balsam, and hopvine wreaths. Bookmarks can be made with pressed flowers and leaves from your garden. Some crafters even make items such as lampshades from your garden flowers. Ornaments can be made from milkweed pods, pine cones, and dried flowers and plant parts.
Many gifts can be found that make gardening easier. Clothing items include cotton gloves with vinyl coating for use in wet soils, or a gardening apron or tool belt. There are belt holsters for pruners, or even for the cordless or cell phone!
Tools with thick cushioned grips, pruners with swivel handles, longer
handles, and bent handles are all tools designed ergonomically for ease
on the body. Knee pads, kneeling pad, or a kneeling seat might
Watering may be easier with better quality brass fittings and couplings, water breakers, and high quality water nozzles. Watering devices include quite decorative ones such as frogs and brass designs. Then there are the automatic watering timers.
Don't forget the weather. Rain gauges run from inexpensive plastic, to decorative brass, to wireless remote digital ones with memory! There are rain stations that monitor several climate factors. Even a simple and inexpensive minimum-maximum thermometer can be useful and fun.
You can get more ideas at full service garden stores, mail order catalogs
either in print or online, and even at fall craft sales. If still
confused, can't decide, or the person seems to have everything already,
how about a gift certificate to their favorite gardening supplier?