Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Gifts Gardeners Will Love

If there's a gardener on your list or in your life, you already know the passion that gardening can cultivate (okay, I couldn't resist that pun...apologies) in a person. Chances are, they talk about some aspect of gardening at least once a day, often much more. You hear about seeds, climates, weather, plant performance, flowers...and while it may not interest you as much as it does them, you listen (and hopefully learn). If you ARE the gardener, you're daydreaming right now about the seed catalogs that started rolling in this week instead of paying attention to reading this (I support you fully!). With Christmas being in the dead of winter for most gardeners, when their plants are dormant and all they have are memories and plans, it can be a difficult holiday. And since most gifts for gardeners won't be used until next spring, should you even bother to try and choose something within the genre? Of course you should! Here are some interesting and unusual gift ideas for the gardener in your life, or for you to pass on to your list holder.

Since it's off season, it isn't always easy to find gardening items in stores. Thank goodness for the old WWW, eh? You can find any type of garden accessory made, right now. All you have to do is look...some great places to try are Gardeners Supply Company, Merrifield Garden Center, Kinsman Company, Dorothy Biddle Service, and Richters Herbs. They all have unique items that gardeners love but you won't find at the big box stores.

Flower Arranging Products
This is one out of the box idea that will pay off in spades if the gardener on your list enjoys flowers from their garden, or flowers, period. And, they're the PERFECT Christmas gift as they can be used right away...even your local grocery store will have some fresh flowers in stock for the recipient to practice with. Some great suggestions, appropriate for the novice or expert:
  • Metal flower frogs: These are also called Kenzans, needlepoint holders, flower holders, etc. but they all have the same function...a heavy tip resistant base with brass or steel pins onto which the flowers stems are pushed to create an arrangement. They can be placed in a vase or bowl, and some have cups attached so they can be used alone or in non-water tight containers. My personal favorites are made of stone with a cup and pin holder inside...they look so natural and only a few flowers make them look great. And, they're all reasonably priced!
  • Glass arrangers: Top pick would be the Floral Seven, created by the Horticultural Institute of California...it's got seven tiny vases attached together in a tower-shape and makes the most lovely arrangements. Best part is, all you do is gather your materials, cut them all to the same length, stuff them in and PRESTO! Martha would be envious! Antique glass flower frogs and arrangers are readily available on Ebay, too...variations include ladies, birds, animals, and art deco forms. Another great item is a glass flower ring; it's shaped like a doughnut and floats on any surface...you put your flowers in the middle. Gorgeous!
  • Books: Great especially if your gardener has never tried arranging before...there are TONS of books out there on beginning arranging, and most include a list of basic supplies so feel free to use it as a gift buying guide, too!
Decorative Garden Items
Not all gifts for the gardener have to be used outdoors...folks often forget that! Garden themed decorative items are 'so hot right now' and easy to find.
  • Wall Art: Be it posters, framed prints, photos or paintings, any gardener is a sucker for an image of anything gardeny. Scenes from nature with plants, other people's gardens, one specific plant in study, cartoons...in the bleak dark winter, all will be a welcome sight that will bring a smile to their face with every glance. For a very special gift, have some photos of the recipient's own gardens mounted and framed. It will be treasured forever!
  • Tableware: What gardener wouldn't love a set of dishes they can use that tell everyone what they're most passionate about? I have one...the bread plates all say 'it's spring and time to plant seeds'...and gosh, they make me feel warmer when I use them, I swear!
  • Do-dads and knick knacks: Little trowels, sculpted garden scenes, planters...the sky's the limit in this category. Indoor wind chimes, while not my thing, always are a hit, as are plaques that have garden themed inscriptions, such as 'grow, dammit' or 'world's greatest gardener'.
  • In the Loo: Towels with floral or gardening scenes, shower curtains with watering cans...it's a great theme in any room, but in the loo nature just seems...right.
Another great way to keep the dream alive off season...shirts and other apparel with garden prints and motifs! I've seen so many really wonderful T-shirts out there, and in a wide variety of colors and sizes. My personal favorite is one that says 'Head Gardener'...get your gardening AND power fixes in one fell swoop, I say! Places like Neighborhoodies will custom letter many different styles of tops for you for a reasonable price, which is fun and unique. You may also wish to try a T-Shirt with a photo you snagged from you're recipient's garden... journal. Instant usage gratification!

In addition to the above, things a gardener won't use until spring are always an option, and gardeners on the whole are a patient people (every wait for something to grow? Eeek!). Try pairing some tools, gloves, plant markers...all can be found in really pretty gift sets...with one of my suggestions and your gardener will think of you not only during the holiday season, but in the spring as well.

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