Treat your favorite gardener to a new set of good pruners.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This time of year, most people's minds are on celebrating the holidays and gift giving. If you are still stumped as to what to get your gardening friend or family member, I'll share a few ideas for some last-minute gift ideas. And if you are a gardener, you might have some great gifts at your fingertips that you didn't even think about.
Simple, last-minute gifts for gardeners
Gifts do not need to be elaborate or expensive to be meaningful. Often it is simple gestures that can mean the most when it comes to gift giving. Here are a few things I think will make good last-minute gifts for gardeners and nature lovers.
A garden journal. It is good gardening practice to keep notes on what you do from year to year so you don't repeat mistakes and remember what you planted or how you took care of pests effectively. If the person already keeps a journal, the spare will be appreciated. If they aren't already journaling, this would be a great way to introduce them to it. You can purchase many nice garden journals at bookstores or online (though at this point you have to get very speedy delivery) in a price range of $15 on up. I like the Moleskine Passions Gardening Journal, which is available for about $20. If you would like to go the homemade route, search online for templates that you can print and put in a binder or bind with ribbon. I would suggest creating a personalized cover page.
Potted amaryllis or paperwhites. These bulbs are a sure sign of the season, and can give enjoyment well past the celebration of Christmas. I would suggest finding high-quality bulbs or pre-planted ones at a nursery or florist. These can also make a great host or hostess gift.
A good set of pruners. Some gardeners are serious about their pruners. You can treat your favorite gardener to a new set of good pruners. Good models like Fiskars start at about the $20 level, but great pruners like those made by Felco can be $50-plus. A nice pruning saw or garden knife or pocketknife would be a good option as well. My favorite knife is by the French company Opinel; I gave out a bunch of them last year for Christmas. They are simple and inexpensive, but if you want one in time for Christmas, you'll have to order from Amazon with rush shipping.
Compost bin or rain barrel. If you are looking for a bigger gift for a sustainability-minded gardener, a compost bin or rain barrel could be a great option. They are available at garden shops and box stores alike. A smaller, less-expensive option would be a kitchen compost container, used to hold kitchen scraps on the counter until you can take them out to the compost bin or pile.
Birdfeeders. Many gardeners also enjoy attracting wildlife to their gardens. A nice birdfeeder could be a quick gift find, especially if it is a unique or pretty design. Don't forget to look ahead to summer and be on the lookout for some nice hummingbird feeders.
Nursery/catalog gift certificate. While I don't typically go in for gift certificates and cards, picking one up from a favorite garden store or catalog company can be a great gift option. This will allow the recipient to pick out plants and other things in the right season in the upcoming year.
The gift of charity. Sometimes the best gift is given to others in honor of the recipient. There are several options for meaningful giving in honor of your gardening friend. Heifer International is an organization that helps families in developing countries become self-sufficient through agriculture. You can give garden seeds, beehives, chickens and other livestock in the name of your recipient at www.heifer.org. On a local level, Manna Meal grows produce in a garden in Charleston to feed 400-plus people each day. You could honor your friend with a donation of money or time to the soup kitchen or the garden. You can find their information at mannameal.com or call 304-345-7121.
Garden classes. Has your loved one always wanted to be a Master Gardener or learn how to garden? Give them a voucher for the Master Gardener course (details below) or an online gardening course.