Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

Pat Ferguson
Adams County Master Gardener

Oh, good grief!! Hortense, do calm down, dear. The special garden wagon with the pretty iron doors is not here yet. I know you donít want to go away with the nice ladies in the bumble bee shirts but our neighbors are still upset over the PET-B-GONE incident. Where ARE they all, dear? Also, the Director of the Ag Center is less than enthusiastic about the 300 field crickets you left in his office as an early Christmas present. They mated. Mr. Director had some very direct words to say, didnít he? Couldnít get a thing done for weeks and nobody knew who he was because of the goggles and special gloves he had to wear while he put all those crickets into the little mesh cricket bags. So letís check your list, dear.

Well now, for Esmeralda you could get some freshly dried herbs for use in soups and stews, and herbal products for winter including herbal teas, vinegars, jellies; then there are the soaps, lotions, and potpourri made with fresh and dried herbs, flowers, and everlastings. On a different note altogether, you could choose a really fancy copper or tin watering can to use as a decoration and also as a vase. A nice Christmas gift would be a series of flower pots of varying sizes - gardeners never know what theyíre going to need so pots of different sizes always come in handy. How about garden clogs or a short hand-rake and good, sturdy gloves?

Every gardener I know talks about bird houses and there are many different styles. Probably the only birding item that is more numerous and diverse than bird houses is bird feeders. Just remember that squirrels like bird feeders, too, so you will need to put some thought into the best type to purchase. What about a pair of binoculars for close-up bird watching? Or a birdbath. In winter, birds need our help because of the freezing of their sources of water.

You could purchase a teacup and saucer (not too tiny) at a flea market and plant some mint in the teacup. Just donít water it much and your friend will then have a new teacup and some mint to replant later.

Something I thought we could do for ourselves is to bring in the old white birdbath and clean it up. Then letís fill it with old seed packets, dried flowers, flower heads and some torn-out flower photos and put a piece of glass on top and use it as a table. We can make it bigger by using larger glass. Oval, maybe? What? Oh sure, we can fill it with lemons and limes, with smooth stones, sea shells, Christmas ornaments, pine cones, magazines, interesting floral fabrics. Ah, no, I donít think we ought to fill it with horticultural oil and put a wick in the top.

There are many gardening books from which to choose, and gorgeous floral framed prints, welcoming slates and stepping stones, flags and sculptures for the garden, too. Also, there are books that include a variety of helpful garden plans.

One thing a gardener would appreciate is a trip to a tree farm or nursery to choose a tree or shrub or plantings she or he really wants, or perhaps even choose decorative slate or stone or a garden bench or special lighting or . . . . . . You can give your gardener a paid-in-advance ticket to a gardening class or show if you know his or her special interest. Our Ag Center offers a great variety of programs.

Finally, donít forget, you can wrap a gift for a gardener in interesting, appealing things other than Christmas wrap. Try wrapping in burlap and using raffia instead of ribbon and fresh holly as decoration. Place a gift in a flower pot and tie it up with garden twine with pine cones or small pine twigs on top or on the side or use a watering can as your box or if you are giving your gardener a gift certificate, wrap it around a brick, put it in a nice and sturdy box and wrap it like it contained the crown jewels! You can also use the tall grass blades of ornamental grasses as twine and use the plumes as decoration.

One of the best gifts of all doesnít cost anything but its worth canít be measured. Encouragement. Give your gardener encouragement. No fancy wrapping, no ribbons and bows needed, just show your pleasure in your gardenerís efforts. Their work is mostly for the benefit and pleasure of others! Gardeners delight in the verbal bouquets you give them just as you delight in the flower bouquets and feasts for the senses they give to you.

Now, Hortense, dear, donít worry, youíll be back in no time! Umm, whatís in that box behind your back? Itís rattling. Hickory nuts? Youíre going to shoot them out of what? Uh oh. Come back here!! Hortennnnse . . . . . . O good grief!!

All the best of the seasonís delights to you and yours. Merry Christmas!

Read other winter related gardening articles

Read other articles by Pat Ferguson