At this time of year, whether you’re gifting or getting, here are some unusual ideas to warm gardeners’ hearts.
Tickets to Flower and Garden Shows Events like Seattle’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival (Feb. 26-March 1) or the Philadelphia Flower Show (Feb.29-March 8) feature advance single-day tickets ($20–$35). For extravagance, purchase multi-day tickets because there’s so much to see at flower shows. In Seattle, with over a hundred seminars, you’re giving a gardening education every day.
Online Garden Classes Although much of what appears on designer Darcy Daniel’s eGardenGo website is free, she also sells professionally curated planting plans from $4.99 to $19.99 each—a complete recipe for success. Author and designer Karen Chapman offers a course (and a book) in Deer Resistant Design at her website, Le Jardinet, for $47. Ellen Zacho’s website, The Backyard Forager, has the perfect stocking stuffer—a short course, Five Easy Wild Edibles, for $9. Or consider the comprehensive Wild Spice Cabinet course for $97. For all these, sign up online with your giftee’s name, pay for the course, and send the password/coupon, along with your holiday greetings, to the lucky recipient.
Books/Magazines Of course, the paper category includes the many fabulous garden publications. For those who would like to make their own beauty products from plants grown in your yard or greenhouse, try Natural Beauty from the Garden by Janice Cox. And Toni Gattone’s The Lifelong Gardener—Garden with Ease & Joy at Any Age is invaluable for keeping on keeping on. Magazine subscriptions—it’s Fine Gardening or Country Gardens. And for fun, give a subscription to Pat Stone’s GreenPrints–The Weeder’s Digest.
Printed Catalogs Gift certificates are always welcome from the many nurseries that ship plants. And paper catalogs are such a pleasure to read. Give joy with choices from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. Or find the right person who will laugh at the goofy political cartoons on the covers of Plant Delights Nursery and will love the enticing descriptions of rare and unusual plants inside.
Old Newspapers Really? Yes, a good half-inch thick newspaper mulch could be a gardener’s new best friend. Newspaper layers can be hidden beneath shredded bark or other organic toppers, and it lasts six months to a year. As it breaks down, more layers can be reapplied. Newspapers hold water, block weeds, encourage earthworms, and avoid the temptation to put down soil-killing weed cloth. Find a generous woven willow basket and fill it with whatever you’ve got. Tie a big bow on it, and promise to refill. A savvy gardener will love you.