Ah, tis the season! Parties, family gatherings, cozy fires, baking–sounds like great fun, and it is, but it can also be stressful. I know–I’ve got 5 siblings and their families, two children, friends and a Hunky Foreman to buy for. Luckily, people in my family are either wine drinkers or gardeners, and I’m both–so shopping is easy! If you’re having a hard time with the gardeners on your list or just need a few fresh ideas, I’m here to help. Here’s my list of the top 10 garden gifts for this Christmas:
10. Magazine Subscriptions: Seriously, this is an awesome gift. Great articles, project how-to’s, new plants to try, organic methods, gorgeous photographs…what’s not to love? My favorites are Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Southern Living. At anywhere from $19 to $30 for a year’s subscription, it’s the gift that keeps on giving–and right now, you can often find discounts and deals.
9. Garden Books: Granted, this is closely related to magazines, but for those who like reading, learning from and displaying beautiful garden books, you can’t go wrong. Your best friend Kellie gardens on a patio? Get her a copy of John Brooke’s “Small Garden.” Your Uncle John who loves to cook from his garden will love “Grocery Gardening” by Jean Ann Van Krevelen, Teresa O’Connor, Amanda Thomsen and Robin Ripley. Your friend who has an appreciation for modern art and other cultures will totally appreciate “New Brazilian Gardens: The Legacy of Burle Marx” by Roberto Silva–this is the landscape book that turned my designing around 5 years ago.
8. Garden Gloves: I love gloves that have the rubber palms–they keep my hands clean when I’m digging, they keep them dry, they’re washable and inexpensive. I usually get one new pair (about $5-$6) for every couple of client projects I do. I’ve found some that are made of bamboo, and while they are a bit more expensive ($10), they are so soft and flexible. Your brother will love them!
7. Garden Hat: No, not the dorky Ladies’ Garden Club flowery hats (although they’re kind of cute in a cheesy way), but a really good wide-brim hat that looks great while it’s shading your face and neck is an awesome gift! Many of them are unisex, but the ones with wider brims look a bit more feminine to me.
6. One Great Pot or Container: It doesn’t have to be big and pricey. In fact, there are some plants like succulents or air plants (tillandsias) that will do quite well in a small pot–just make it an awesome one. How about the recycled clear glass hanging terrariums from aHa! Modern Living, or these adorable polka dot pots from Wrapables? Or check out the super-cute thimble pots from H. Potter–your granny would love those! Hell, I like ’em!
5. A Great Tool: I think I’d die if I woke up on Christmas morning to a new pair of Felco bypass pruners. Are they cheap? No, but the cheap ones aren’t worth buying. Unless it’s for your sister that you don’t really like…but even she deserves a good pair of pruners, right? Of course she does! And don’t forget bonsai clippers or terrarium tools–I have this set from aHa! Modern Living that I love. I use them to plant succulents as well; they’re perfect with their small sizes.
4. Skin Care: You know firsthand from years of digging, weeding and planting that hands can get dry and rough, so treat your gardener friend to some fine skin care for her hands! Soaps, balms and moisturizers are perfect stocking stuffers–or create an entire gift basket!
3. Jewelry: For the garden girl on your list, don’t forget a little bling! Aha! Modern Living has some incredible garden-themed jewelry–the little bean sprout earrings and necklace are so cute they can make you cry. And intertwined bangle bracelets from Silversmyth are to die for–artist Julie Hiltbrunner has a little tag on it that looks to me like a leaf. I have this bracelet and it’s one of my favorites!
2. Rubber Boots: No, I’m totally serious! My brother gave me a pair of bright red Hunter rubber boots two years ago for Christmas, and I’ve worn them gardening, shopping, and even for a photo shoot last spring. For a less expensive option, stores like Target, Marshall’s or Ross for rubber boots in the cutest patterns like leopard print, polka dots and flowers.
1. A Perfect Plant: Well, of course a plant would be on a list of perfect gifts for a gardener, but we’re not talking poinsettias or cyclamen here! Go outside the norm and pick an exotic, rare or unusual plant. Get your gardener going on a collection of tillandsias (air plants) or orchids–I saw the most gorgeous Moth orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) the other day at one of my local nurseries that my sister would love. How about a rare bamboo cultivar like Phyllostachys bambusoides or the unusual Aloe polyphylla? If you’re not sure what to get, check with a nursery like Annie’s Annuals for suggestions–they specialize in rare and unusual annuals and perennials and are masters at shipping.
Let me hear from you–there’s 25 days before Christmas, so let us know if you have an great garden gift idea! One you’ve received in the past like my Hunter boots, or one you keep wishing (hint, hint) will show up under the tree or in your stocking–your idea just could be the saving grace of many Christmas shoppers!