Gift ideas for the garden

Brian Minter offers some last minute gift ideas for the gardeners on your list.

With Anna’s hummingbirds staying around during the winter

You may have already discovered this reality:  when it comes to gardening gifts, passionate gardeners are very particular, so here are some suggestions that you might find helpful.

If your gardener has a greenhouse of any size, accessories such as heating mats, quality watering accessories, like the world famous English Hawes watering cans, and maximum-minimum thermometers are always appreciated.

Attracting wildlife to gardens has become quite a trend these days.  Birdbaths and birdbath heaters, feeders and birdhouses are great gifts for children and shut-ins.  Birding is the number two leisure activity in North America, and bird feeders and accessories are nice presents for those who enjoy this hobby.    With Anna’s hummingbirds staying around during the winter, a vintage glass hummingbird feeder is a practical and attractive gift. Winter-blooming plants, like mahonias (Oregon grape), that provide nectar for them, are also great gifts.  Creating bee habitats is an important issue today.  Mason bee houses are a great start and the process of colonizing mason bees is fascinating. The bees, normally available in garden centres starting in February, are important pollinators in gardens and most eco-systems.  A gift certificate for mason bees is a wonderful idea.

There are a whole host of gardening gift ideas from gardeners’ soap and richly toned wind chimes to quality ergonomically designed tools for ease of use.  Treat the gardeners on your list with a high quality Felco or Corona pruner that will serve them for years to come.   Complete gardening ‘wardrobes’ are available from gardening hats, gloves, aprons and footwear to knee pads and garden tool belts.  A gift card to a favourite gardening store is also a valued treasure.

Water in the garden is very popular these days, and everything from pre-formed ponds to pumps, fountains, waterfalls and LED underwater lights are huge hits as gifts.  A ‘vanishing water’ feature, with water bubbling up through pre-drilled basalt stones, is a big thing.  A pump and kit that houses this beautiful patio feature makes a wonderful gift to be enjoyed for years.

Research has revealed that of all the gifts people receive, flowers make folks the happiest.  Long-lasting and perfumed Christmas bouquets with seasonal fragrant greens are a real treat anytime over the Christmas season.

Gardeners love plants best of all, and there are some wonderful new hardy plants they can enjoy in the late fall and winter.  The new ‘Gold Collection’ Christmas rose (Helleborus niger), winter-blooming jasmine, viburnums and winter-blooming sasanqua camellias are fabulous. Peeling bark maples, coral bark maples and contorted filberts and willows are a joy in winter.  Everbearing raspberries like the new ‘Raspberry Shortcake’, the new improved haskap berries, figs and dwarf fruit trees will be the ‘hottie’ items for food gardens in 2016.

By stepping out of the box a wee bit, there are some wonderful European garden tours being offered. Garden makeovers are all the rage today, and a gift certificate for a quality garden designer is also a wonderful gift.

Tickets to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle this coming February 17-21 would be a treasured gift.  Tickets can be purchased online or at certain local garden stores.  Tickets or season passes to some of our wonderful Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island gardens would also be a splendid idea.

Most gardeners appreciate something unique and different.  Quality and usefulness are perhaps the two most important criteria to keep in mind.  I hope this helps.