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I have ideas to please the novice and the expert gardener on your holiday gift list.

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Easy to assemble is garden gift basket. I select a pretty basket and load it up with paperwhites and amaryllis bulbs, a planting post, soil mix, planting and care instructions and an attractive pair of gardening gloves. You can splurge and include a good-looking watering can. Most of the items can be found at your local garden center or nursery.

For houseplant lovers, you could assemble a basket for tools to tend to their houseplants. The latest gardening tools, gardening gadgets, houseplant trays and tarps for potting plants could fill the basket or a huge flowerpot. Water-reservoir pots, plant saucers and caddies, potting soil, gardening gloves and a plant mister could be added to the pile. Add a new houseplant, a great final touch to the package.

Streptocarpus, amaryllis, cyclamen, orchids, ferns, palms, bromeliads and cacti are houseplants to consider giving as gifts. Many houseplants are nice because they have pretty blooms in the winter. When giving a houseplant as a gift, always include care instructions.

 

Feeding the birds is a popular pastime in my zone 5 where by late fall the chickadees, nuthatches, bluejays, cardinals and woodpeckers are busy at our feeders. Assembling a kit with numerous items for the bird lovers on your list is easy—include a quality bird feeder, one that is squirrel proof, a variety of bird food, some suet cakes and the hardware for hanging the feeder. A book on bird watching and feeding birds and a pair of binoculars would be great additions to add to your gift.

Amaryllis are great for gifts

It will be awhile before gardeners in my zone 5 will be doing much gardening, but here are some ideas for when we venture in to the garden come spring. Knee cushions or knee pads, hand cream and soap for gardeners, a new garden hose on a wheeled holder, new pruners and trowel, especially the ergonomic ones, ideal for gripping and comfy on the hands. If you prefer to break the bank, package them in a shiny new wheelbarrow or surprise that gardener and place the gifts in a bigger gift—a mini greenhouse.

For herb enthusiasts, there are the mainstays of an herb garden; those are the sundial, bee skep, herb markers and the patron saint of gardeners, St. Fiacre (St. Francis makes a good substitute). Don’t forget a garden bench to sit and enjoy the garden.

Any children you know with a curious interest in gardening? Gardening books geared to their age and some starter tools would make ideal gifts. One book suited for children ages 3 to 8 is George Shannon’s Busy in the Garden, published by Greenwillow Press. Another published by Huntington Library Press is The Children’s Garden Book, with plans by Olive Percival for whimsical gardens and a bit of make-believe, one to surely delight children and adults alike. Not sure about what that gardener on your list would need or like. Try a gift certificate to the local garden center or nursery where the gardener shops. If you know their favorite mail order catalog store, a gift certificate from a gardening catalog would be a welcome gift.

More gift ideas follow.

  • A birdbath
  • An indoor water garden
  • A hummingbird feeder and a book about hummingbirds
  • A book on butterflies and butterfly gardening
  • A book on herbs and herb gardening
  • Stylish pots and containers for plants
  • A unique birdhouse
  • Outdoor garden lights
  • An outdoor garden fountain including pump and a promise to do the hook-up

Carole McCray is an award-winning garden and lifestyle writer and artist who lives, writes gardens and paints in the scenic Laurel Highlands in southwestern Pennsylvania. She won the 2003 Garden Writers Award of Achievement for her article on Native Seeds published in The Christian Science Monitor Newspaper. 


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