December 18th, 2011
by Janet Clark
If you’re looking for some last-minute gift ideas for the gardeners on your Christmas list, try thinking outside the box. Sure, tools and toys always make good gifts, but if your gardeners really have all the trowels/spades/forks and doodads they need, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the garden spirit without getting them stuff they already have.
How about a gift certificate for a horticulture-based class at a local community college or botanical center? Extension services and botanical centers often offer classes for gardeners at all levels on diverse topics: herb gardens, roses, how to create a fairy garden, aromatherapy, working with native plants, gardening in a raised bed and flower arranging, as well as garden-centered crafts such as building a mosaic bird bath and plant photography. Your gardeners will love the opportunity to learn some new tricks of the trade.
You could give them a gardening book to keep their spirits up through the long, dark winter months. Well-recommended books for 2011 include Wildflower Wonders by Bob Gibbons; Growing Vegetables and Herbs by Ruth Lively; The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler; Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces by Susan Morrison; Slow Gardening by Felder Rushing; and Founding Gardeners by Andrea Wulf.
Most gardeners are conservation-oriented, so how about a membership in a group that works to preserve the environment? The Nature Conservancy, the Rainforest Action Committee and National Geographic Society are just three of many possibilities. Local conservation groups are always a good choice as well.
How about springing for a trip for your favorite gardener? The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) presents many opportunities to explore the world of gardening through trips in the United States and abroad. In 2012 PHS will take a group to the Amazon to discover the vast beauty of Peru as they go “In Search of Orchids.” They are also taking a trip to view some of England’s well-known gardens; unfortunately that’s filled up already, but other groups offer English tours, including to the Chelsea Flower Show, the world’s leading horticultural event.
If that’s a little too pricey, don’t worry. Gardeners are easy to please. Just give them a subscription to a good gardening magazine, like The English Garden, Garden Gate or Organic Gardening, and they’ll be happy planning for the next growing season.