Christmas gifts part 2. Originally published in The Weekender Herald November 2018
Last week we looked at home grown or homemade gifts for gardeners, so this week we look at gifts which you can buy.
What else will actually get bigger and add more value the older it gets? Just be aware of the colour of the recipient’s green thumb. Novice gardeners (or those with a confessed black thumb) may be better with a tough indoor plant like a Sanseveria (Mother-in-Law’s tongue) or Aspidistra (Cast iron plant) that is sheltered from the extremes of the summer heat still to come. If you want to give a plant with a Christmas theme you can’t go past a poinsettia, in either the traditional red colour, or even a creamy white, salmon, apricot or pink shade. They are great value and although I treat them as an annual, I still enjoying them till winter – much better value than a bunch of flowers. Other popular choices for gardeners include roses and hydrangeas, however be aware of what their garden is like. If they have shade a rose will struggle yet if they have no shade, a hydrangea will cook. Similarly if the person lives in a frosty area of the hills, the plant you purchase is frost tolerant. And if you know they are going away for extended holidays and haven’t got someone garden sitting, maybe a plant is not going to be alive when they get home.
These are always popular but make sure you choose quality. As the saying goes, ‘cheap tools are for fools’, so invest in the best you can afford as. Whether it is a good pair of secateurs (and good gardeners all have our favourites), hand tools, hedge clippers, long handled pruners, a tool caddy, wheelbarrow, spade or fork, they will always be appreciated.
Gardening gloves are always needed by gardeners as I am sure that I am not the only person to wear them out regularly or lose just one hand. (Why is it always the same hand!?)
Practical gifts could include a hose and reel, a sprinkler, tap timers, trigger nozzles, a worm farm, bokashi bin or a compost bin. Even a bag or bucket of fertiliser would be gladly received by a keen gardener.
Gardening accessories such as pots, bird baths, statues, wind chimes and garden seats are great although they can be a rather personal thing so you may need some direction in choosing the right thing.
My favourite present last Christmas has been used a lot in the past year. It was an infrared thermometer and not only do I use it to check out temperatures around my garden, I am also using it to demonstrate to need for green space around our state. It lives in my handbag and I have recorded some astounding temperatures like 61 degrees on dark, unmulched earth in my garden on a 45 degree day, and 50 degrees on fake turf on a 26 degree day in September.
Magazine subscriptions are wonderful as they can be appreciated for the whole year. Why not get gift subscriptions to Gardening Australia magazine or even a member ship of the Diggers Club which includes magazine and great discounts. Similarly you could invest in a membership to a number of worthwhile organisations that all have wonderful benefits, such as Friends of the Botanic Gardens, Friends of Waite Arboretum or Friends of Carrick Hill.
Well, no one can ever have enough books. Gardening books are as important to the keen gardener as his or her tools. There are so many to choose from with new titles coming out all the time. I have just got a copy of The Plant Hunter – Truth Beauty Chaos and Plants by Georgina Reid. I follow her blog ‘The Plant Hunter’ and have flicked through the book which looks fascinating and addictive. A great read over summer when it’s too hot to get outside! Another in my pile to tackle over Christmas is Bees of Australia by James Dorey which delves into some of our amazing native pollinators and features his magnificent macro photography. Of course, if you don’t know what book to buy, a gift voucher to a book shop is always wonderful.
The gift of time
Why not give a family member or friend a voucher for a half or full day of help in the garden? This gift will be greatly appreciated and valued by the recipient!
And if you really can’t decide what to get, get a gift vouchers to a nursery or garden centre. In the hills, we are blessed with many excellent nurseries that stock healthy, high quality plants. Support them! Whatever you choose, a garden related gift will give lasting pleasure and will be remembered long after many of the other Christmas gift options are forgotten. And sometimes, it is us that deserve a nice Christmas gift, so spoil yourself!
PS. Personally I am asking Father Christmas for another railway carriage. I have three already and love them and use them, so a fourth would just finish off the layout of my garden. To be honest I did ask for this last year too and didn’t get it, so I mustn’t have been good enough in 2017. In 2018 I swear I have been behaving better so fingers crossed!?