In the Garden

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December is holiday time for many of us despite our differences in religion and culture. If you are a gardener or are buying gifts for gardeners; your gift could mean more than just an obligation; it could be a challenge to recycle, beautify your neighborhood, give someone hope or delight the senses.

The obvious choice for giving to gardeners is finding the perfect tool. Such a tool that becomes an extension of the hand is more personal. Rose gardeners will love to receive leather gloves that extend to the elbow protect hands and arms. Atlas makes a wonderful small gift for any gardener since they come in various sizes. Consider tools that are ergonomic—that is designed for the human body, especially the hands.
A quality sharp set of clippers or loppers can make a difficult job manageable and aid painful joints due to arthritis. I love my hand tools with plastic handles—digging is much easier and a lot less painful.

Another favorite of mine is the gift of a plant. Please research to make sure the person you’re giving the plant to is not allergic to it and that the plant is not poisonous to small children and pets. Think small, useful, or the unexpected. My favorite plant gift is bulbs because they renew the soul and provide a gift that lasts a period of time. I give amaryllis bulbs with a nice container and instructions for growing. Try “Apple Blossom “ for a beautiful bloom in the bleak mid-winter. Herbs are a welcome addition to a kitchen-themed gift. Often you can find rosemary plants trimmed into the shape of Christmas trees during the holidays. Combine this gift with a Master Gardener cookbook and you have a great gift for the aspiring chef. Give a fresh wreath for a special friend’s door—a busy mom will thank you for relieving her of the chore of decorating.

One year I received a compost bin and a bag of compost activator. It was the gift that has kept on giving since I just recently filled it full of fallen leaves. I also have a covered compose bucket that encourages me to collect my vegetable scrapes for the compost bin. Either item would make a great gift for a young couple with a new house since it could inspire the two to do their part to make for a cleaner and more beautiful environment.

Perhaps the very best gift a gardener could either give or receive is the gift of knowledge and time. Offer to rake an elderly or disabled person’s yard. Help a new or current homeowner design a theme garden such as a butterfly or hummingbird garden. Purchase a gardening book for that special gardener that will help him or her identify existing plants in the yard. A great resource is Allan M. Armitage’s book, Herbaceous Perennial Plants. Not only does this book offer a vast amount of information, it has great photographs.

I certainly hope all you gardeners and non-gardeners have a happy holiday season full of fellowship and hope for the upcoming year. May dreams of unusual plants, tools, and books “dance in your heads” the way sugar plums dance in the heads of children. Use the patience and inner reflection winter brings to make the world a kinder, more peaceful place.