Choosing A Gardening Gift for ChristmasMaster Gardener Scoop – December 16, 2015

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Choosing A Gardening Gift for Christmas

By Will Summers, Master Gardener

It is the week before Christmas, and you may be looking for the perfect gift for that gardener on your list. Here are some ideas to help you in your decisions. I discussed these recently with some of our best local gardeners. These items are commonly available and not in any particular order. We are not endorsing any manufacturer, brand or product. I leave it up to you to determine your preferences, find the item availability or to address the recipient’s personal tastes. Hopefully, this list will trigger more ideas and move you toward any last minute purchases.

First, a word to the wise: Gag gifts and over-priced gadgets are not for the serious gardener. A good gift will show the care, love and thoughtfulness of the giver and will be all the more welcomed by the recipient.

Apparel: Sun can be an enemy to the gardener in your life. Gardeners love garden gloves, a broad-brimmed hat, shorts, clogs, rubber-soled boots, sandals. Consider skin creams and insect repellants.

Books: Good gardening books abound in bookstores and department stores. Consider plant books or specialty garden books for raising individual plants such as ornamental grasses, hostas, daylillies, or roses, shade gardening, water gardening, bonsai, and topiary.

Carts: Aging gardeners need a little help carrying gardening loads. Stores have a variety of wheel barrows, wagons, garden carts, and even wheeled-seats. Consider a large tub with handles or a basket to carry fresh vegetables. Be sure you make yourself available to assist when the time comes to assemble any device you purchase.

Memberships: Consider joining the Missouri Botanical Garden or purchase a gardening magazine subscription.

Plants: Seeds, gift certificates to your local garden center or seed catalogs are always welcome. It is best to be as specific as possible. Consider the purchase of garden chemicals. Gardeners always need fertilizers, bags of compost, peat moss or lime. Consider some organic soil additives such as bone meal or blood meal.

Ornaments: Flowers are not the only thing that belongs in a garden. Please consider giving a decoration such as a decorative paver stone, a reflecting ball, a statue, planter, birdbath, swing, or even an arbor. Less expensive gifts may be an outdoor thermometer, solar lights, clock, wind chimes, flag, streamers or sun-catchers. You might consider a weather vane.

Storage: Space is always limited. Storage cabinets come in all sizes for your garage, patio or yard. You may look into a compost maker or compost bin.

Tools: Look over the existing tools to make up your mind which needs updating or replacing. Knee pads, kneeling pads and ergonomic hand tools add comfort when gardening. Hand pruning shears are always helpful and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for all purposes. Don’t overlook a sprinkling can.

Time: Last, but surely not least, is the time you share in your gardener’s life. This is the most conscientious gift. Consider writing a personal “I Owe You” a specified number of hours of gardening companionship. Nobody likes to work alone. Give this person your precious time. You might consider being more specific such as to include: “Weeding”, “Bringing You a Drink” or “One Free Back Massage” after a hard day of gardening. Use your imagination, and don’t make this only a one-time deal. Be generous with your time. If you are generous, then offer two hours every Sunday in summer, or if you are thriftier, this may be limited to “a Saturday afternoon in June”.

All of this depends on the personal needs and tastes of the person you are shopping for. A gardening gift is a good gift for anyone, no matter what their level of interest in gardening. The level of care you put into this gift selection may even improve your interest in gardening.

For more gardening information, please contact any Washington County Master Gardener, the University of Illinois Extension office near you or your local public library.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all the Washington County Master Gardeners, and please have a Happy New Year!