Yes, 'tis the season and gift shopping at the garden center will be at its peak this weekend. Here are some guaranteed-to-please gift ideas for those on your list who love getting out there in the dirt and working their landscapes. These are a few of the hot sellers so far this season.
Garden Gift #1 - Good tools just make a landscape project go more smoothly, and although gardeners love new tools, many feel guilty buying them for themselves. I've seen the condition of some of the tools in their garages and have just shaken my head in disbelief. There are half-worn picks and shovels that have seen better days, pruners and hedgers that are impossible to cut with, not to mention the cheap pair of gloves riddled with holes. All should have been replaced last season. A good tool runs from $10-$40, and garden centers offer choices to fit every budget. Don't miss the new 'Garden Gal' section with ergonomic tools designed specifically for women.
Garden Gift #2 - The spring planning season is upon us and already gardeners are coming in for wildflower seeds. If you are buying some for gifts, beware of beautifully packaged seeds. They are tempting because they are so attractive, but these beauties can be all show, filled with vermiculite and very little seed in the mixes. My favorite mix is from a company called Beauty Beyond Belief. The owner of this company actually goes out and collects wild seed. The germination rate is off the charts and the quality of the flowers is incomparable.
Garden Gift #3 –Survey after survey proves that gardeners never stop thinking or planning their next garden projects. Even in mid-winter gardeners are researching that next fragrant rose, creating the next great hanging basket or vegetable rotation. That's why gardeners love gift cards to their favorite garden centers; gift cards enable fulfillment of their plans. When cards from our place are redeemed, I get to hear the stories of from whom and how they received such welcome gifts. Each story is related with a twinkle of pleasure in the eye of the teller. To a gardener, a garden center gift card probably is more valuable than any other gift card offered.
Garden Gift #4 - Some extraordinary new sun catchers have been hot gift purchases this year. 'A captured Arizona sunset' is a good way to describe what a sun catcher can create. Hung in a window or against a greenhouse wall, that sparkling effect is enchanting. Prices range from $18 up to $70.
Garden Gift #5 – Wind chimes can be overdone, but not when their pitches are perfectly tuned. Like the finest symphony whispering across the summer landscape is the best way to describe the “Music of the Spheres” wind chimes. One chime, larger in size than I am, sounds like a church steeple. The biggest chimes are pricey at $599, but most are within the $90 to $125 price range. They truly are the best wind chimes you have ever heard.
Garden Gift #6 - Gazing globes have been around for a century. When placed in the landscape, they reflect impressionist-like garden images and rays of sunlight. Don't buy the basic blue, red, or green globe or your gift could be considered passé. The hot models in the garden this year are swirled glass in mixed colors or chipped glass mosaics. Depending on the size, costs range from $15 - $40.
Garden Gift #7 - In the digital age it is fun to play with analog technology. Brass sundials are used like garden art, but really do tell time. It's impressive to see how accurate they still are even after all these centuries. Of course, Swiss clockmakers produce more accurate timepieces that are easier to read on a cloudy day, but they're not as much fun. Usually made of brass, this long-lasting gift to a garden will run anywhere from $49 to $99.
Gardening gifts always are well received. Plus, I've never seen one given away as a White Elephant Gift. You know, that game played at Christmas parties to see who is going to be left with that ugly present that no one wants. If you've played this game before you know that a gardening gift is never the unwanted.
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Next week's column will appear the day before Christmas. After that is behind me I'll be getting ready for the after-Christmas rush on the 26th. It is the day when retailers hope return lines are short and all remaining holiday inventory liquidated . . . . . and so, much as the life of our gardens, the cycle continues.
Until next week, I'll see you amongst the Christmas trees. Merry Christmas everyone:)