At this time of the year many of us think about giving gifts to other people. Lucky you if the person on your list is a gardener! Gardeners are easily pleased. I tell you this from personal experience. There has never been a gardening gift that I didn't like. (I hope my family and friends are reading this!)
Not much money to spend? No problem. Simply buy packages of seeds, soilless mix, and some pots. You can even buy tree kits, strawberry jar- seed kits, orchid-like flower kits, or indoor herb garden kits in bookstores for a very small amount of money and the seeds do germinate.. Even the most sophisticated gardener hasn't grown everything from seed and will truly enjoy watching the seeds grow into mature plants.
Or give that gardener friend or loved one a gardening journal. All gardeners hope to remember their successes and disappointments from year to year but that is difficult. Maybe the journal is just what your gardener friend needs to jog his or her memory.
For a little more money you can buy that gardener isome tools. My two favorite new tools are the hand held Cobrahead Weeder which has a short handle and the Cobrahead Cultivator which has a long handle and can be used standing up. The working part of each tool is made of steel. I love working with these tools because one tool can be used for almost everything I need to do in the garden except pruning. I purchased the short handled tool first and found it great for weeding and cultivating. I mentioned to my husband that I wish the tool had a longer handle so I could work standing up. He found and purchased the long handled one...good man. I recently found this tool to be of tremendous help when digging the holes to plant spring bulbs.
How about buying that gardener some plants? Gardeners are not like other people. They seldom find the addition of another plant to be an imposition. Don't worry if the gardener already has the same plant. Extras provide gardeners with the opportunity to make cuttings, experiment with different placement in their home or garden, perhaps bring them into flower at different times. Some wonderful examples of plants to buy at this time of the year are tazettas (also called paper white narcissus) bulbs which are forced and discarded after the bloom is over, amaryllis (hippeastrum) bulbs which if treated properly can rebloom year after year, poinsettias which now come in several colors, cyclamen, and rosemary plants which have been pruned to look like small trees. Let's not forget Christmas cactus which is usually red and the other cultivars including white.
If you have a really special gardener in your life and some extra money to spend consider buying an Aerogarden. This would even be good for folks who are not gardeners. There is a choice of about 20 different seed kits including herbs and vegetables to plant in the automated hydroponic setup . It involves no soil or daily checking of seedlings practically guaranteeing success.
I recently read about GardenCams and Birdcams. These are digital cameras which automatically take. pictures at designated intervals. The camera is mounted in one place. You simply download pictures to your television or computer. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to watch a particular plant grow or a flower unfold? Or wouldn't it be wonderful to watch the antics of birds on your property when you are not around? I have no experience with these two items but am quite intrigued . If you have used either of these items please send me an email detailing your experiences..
Don't forget books. But that is next month's column.
Lastly, to all my wonderful readers I wish you all the most joyous of holidays.