It’s the season for gift giving once again. Each year I try to give you some fun ideas for gifts to give the gardeners in your life. This year, trying not to repeat any ideas I’ve already given, my theme is “living gifts to or from the gardener.” Enjoy the over 70 ideas.
Mushroom spawn, plugs, and mushroom growing kits can give a new focus to a gardener. Several fun companies to check out are: fungi.com, everythingmushrooms.com, Mushroom Mountain, and Fungi Ally. Worms aren’t usually considered “Christmasy.” However, perhaps your gardener would love to learn vermiculture first hand. Send your gardener to vermiculture workshops, or get him/her the equipment (and worms) to start composting!
Coupons or specific set dates and/or times for actual help in the garden are much appreciated. Winter pruning certificates if your gardener has fruit trees would help as well. If your gardener is having problems, a gift certificate to a tree or landscaping service is great. Raised bed kits are available at garden centers, online, and by catalog. With that kit, add a note to your gardener that you will come help install said raised bed. (Or, at least talk to the gardener while he/she installs it.)
Live succulent gardens (like hen and chicks), or personalized potted bulbs can be a creative gift. Boxed or bagged tree kits are available for more than twenty kinds of trees including fruit, evergreen, shade, nut, and endangered species. These can be found at places like Tree In A Box, or Magic Plant Farms. Along that same line you could create or give a bonsai starter kit, from the Eastern Leaf, or The Bonsai Outlet. Other dwarf plants are fun to give and collect. Herb growing kits, or container gardens with live kitchen or medicinal herbs can be welcome in the gardening kitchen. A variety of herbal essential oils would be enjoyed by any gardener who likes to make their own salves and creams.
Gift cards or gift certificates for seeds, bulbs, or live plants can be a welcome surprise. Containers or bowls of forced bulbs are a great take and go gift. Tickets or passes to local plant shows, herbariums, or the annual Wisconsin Garden Expo (especially if you attend with the gardener) will be treasured. You could give one (or a whole box) of postcardens— greeting cards that contain seeds. You water the pop-up card and the card grows into a mini garden. These can be found online or in catalogs.
Sturdy produce gathering or shopping baskets or bags in wood, wire, or mesh aren’t live, but are always needed. DVDs of favorite gardening shows like The Wisconsin Gardener can be a blessing, especially on rainy or snowing evenings. Potting soil, potting supplies, and tools can give the gardener an edge. Hypertufa planting pots, while not alive, can be fun to make. Give your favorite gardener a coupon for an afternoon or evening of your time making or creating these interesting pots together.
Strawbales can be given now for next spring’s garden. Bromeliads or orchids in glass orbs can be festive for those gardeners who have low lighting. A membership to plant or flower of the month clubs can be enjoyed all year long. Sprouting bins and sprouting seeds can be a tasty new hobby. “Easy seeders” are plastic planting guides/templates that aid in spacing out your seeds while planting. These can be found in stores, or online. Or, if your gardener has a large space— seeds bombs (especially bee, bird, butterfly friendly ones) are appropriate gifts.
Free standing or hanging vertical garden structures and plants will brighten any indoor spot. Wall pockets in a variety of colors and materials are available for those gardeners who are crunched for space. Sky planters (pots that hang upside down) filled with spider plants or ferns make an elegant gift. Purchase or make a mini greenhouse (I’m talking bread box sized), or get your gardener a kit so he/she can make their own.
For the ecological gardener on your list, why not give a stainless steel or ceramic counter compost bin? Or, give your gardener one or several smaller evergreen trees (decorated or not) to be enjoyed through the season and planted on Arbor Day in the spring. You could pot up and give several starts of different plants (Christmas cactus, violets, holly, etc.). Decorative lemon and/or lime trees make great gifts, too, even if they have to be brought indoors each year.
To aid your gardener’s structural needs, you could give trellises, arches, or metal panels. If natural is your style, why not give a burlap-wrapped ivy or mistletoe topiary. There are dozens of different terrarium shapes and sizes— pick one and fill it with soil and mini plants. You could give hanging/trailing plants potted in themed hanging pots or as “hair” in facial statue or head planters (available online or make your own). Give your gardener a fairy garden start— plants, furniture, fairies, moss, and all the trappings. If your gardener uses it and has lots of shade or garden stones, give him/her a moss starter kit. These are available from Down to Earth, or Moss Acres, or online.
For an Old World flair, give your gardener a redwood or an olive tree in a terracotta pot. Wearable plant jewelry (necklaces mostly) come in a variety of shapes and colors. A basket of medicinal herb seeds with the recipes to go with them would be a thoughtful gift. How about a potted ivy, holly, or mistletoe wreath? You can wax and then force some amaryllis bulbs in different colors to give to your gardener. They don’t need a pot, or sun, or watering.
And finally, for those who are “really into” gardening, why not give the gift of education? Pay their way to take Master Gardening courses! Contact your local county extension agent for more information. Happy gift giving!