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Holiday season gifts gardening hands sprout

Most of the northern hemisphere is cold and dark in December. When people shop for gifts, that information guides them – get something for winter. But don’t forget us gardeners when you are gift giving! This may not be our active season, but we have needs, too!

All season long, devout gardeners watch their gardens grow, make a list of things to do differently the following year, and see what they need to make that list come alive. Find out what your favorite gardener needs to blossom next year.

Basic and practical

Every growing season is different, since we are dealing with the elements, but there are a few things we use every year. It never hurts to refresh them. Hint, hint.

Seeds – Most seed companies have collections of several varieties packaged together. Tomatoes, herbs, container plants and hummingbird gardens are common and well received.

Containers – Large planters can grace an entry way, ring a deck or patio, or serve as a focal point indoors or out.

Rakes, shovels, pitchfork, wheelbarrow – These aren’t very sexy, but they are vital tools for spring clean up, turning over soil, adding compost, making new beds, and much more.

Hand tools – Put a trowel, a weeder, a cultivator, pruners and loppers in one box to make someone really happy.

Clothes – Gloves, hat, rubber shoes, rubber boots, rain gear, half or full body apron for carrying small tools.

Season extenders – Row cover gets trashed after several years of use and exposure to the elements. Fresh row cover with no holes in it sounds heavenly. Consider building low tunnels for your favorite salad eater to have greens before anyone else and long after frost has nipped the neighbors.

Greenhouse – This is probably not something most gardeners use every year, but I’m sure they’d like to!

Fun and beautiful

Who doesn’t need a little whimsy in their life?! Color, shape and texture shouldn’t only come from plants. Trellises, sculptures, wind chimes, and fencing add as much visual interest as the variety of what’s growing. This is a very cool way to upcycle something from a flea market or thrift store, if you’re the creative type.

Bat, bee and bird houses attract pollinators, and come in various shapes, sizes and materials. Even outdoor furniture can be fun to look at as well as sit on!

Kits

Gardening kits are a great way to inspire new gardeners. Even experienced gardeners have fun with these. Most can be used indoors over winter, too, so you don’t have to wait months to garden.

Look for succulents, herbs, mushrooms and bulbs in kits. You can also get a windowsill hydroponic system to grow without soil. Gardening is experimenting, so have fun with this!

Intangible gifts

Sometimes gardeners need a helping hand. Create a gift certificate from yourself, and give your time to help out through the busy season. Offer to organize the shed, sort the nursery pots, build raised beds, create a walkway, or till up a new flowerbed.

Plan a trip to a botanical garden once a month to watch the seasons come and go. Make a booklet of ‘tickets’ with dates and what you might see. If you have a big nursery in your city, you can accomplish the same thing. Most of them have permanent plantings as displays for educational reasons.

Shop locally

Instead of going to the big box chain store, investigate small local shops. Your neighbors own these, and they put their money right back into the community with taxes and their own purchases.

There are also arts and crafts fairs this time of year. Support local artists that spend locally in turn.

Look at flea markets, yard sales and second hand stores, too. You can upcycle something into a useful item for the garden or find good quality tools and planters.

Have fun!

Gardeners love to help other gardeners and people shopping for those gardeners! We are a great community! Have fun shopping for your favorite plant junkie this holiday season.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.