Monday, December 12, 2011

Gifts for “Green” Gardeners

butkit Yikes! How can there be less than two weeks until Christmas? If you are still looking for gift ideas for the eco-friendly gardener on your list, here are a few last minute suggestions.

*Please note: catalog links provided are for reference only and are not recommendations on my part. Many of the products were chosen for their unique or “green” qualities. Whenever possible, I suggest you shop local.

Pamper your gardener. Forget the day in the spa. To pamper your favorite gardener, give them gifts to protect their hands and skin. Every gardener needs garden gloves but eco-friendly gardeners are often more hands-on than other gardeners. Why? Because we don’t stand back and spray weeds or bugs with toxic chemicals. We get right down there in the dirt and hand pull weeds and hand pick bugs. Gloves are good. Along the same lines as gloves, eco-friendly gardeners can use kneelers for getting down close to their gardens and hand tools used for weed removal. And hats are great to help protect faces from harmful UV rays. All of these products can be found locally at garden centers or even big box stores.

Give the gift of water AND cleaner local waterways. You can buy or make a rain barrel to give. But make sure the gift is used and appreciated by helping the recipient install it. Other options for saving water are water timers ($19.95 from Plow & Hearth) which provide automatic shutoff after a designated amount of watering. And there are even high-tech models that check the weather on the internet $499.00 from CyberRain) and then set your irrigation systems for you, depending on the weather forecast.

Nurture their soul - Butterfly or hummingbird garden kits can be purchased ready made, or you can make your own by checking our lists of plants for hummingbirds and butterflies and picking up seed packs at your favorite garden supply center. Don’t forget to include a book (or pages printed from the internet) about how to create a butterfly or hummingbird garden.

Keep them organized and enlightened with a Garden Journal – I love garden journals (and I wish I would remember to use my own more often). Keeping a garden journal is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t in your garden, and to write down those “deep thoughts” that always seem to come when your hands are deep in the dirt. You can buy very inexpensive empty journals at many book stores, or go all out and buy a ten year, cloth bound journal with A Gardener’s Journal stamped on the front cover ($39.50 from Lee Valley)

The gift that keeps on giving: Compost Buckets – IMHO, everyone should compost. But having a big pile of decomposing plant matter in the corner of one’s yard isn’t for everyone. But compost buckets come in all shapes, sizes and designs. From stylish kitchen designs that sit on a kitchen counter and allow for collection of coffee grounds and eggshells, to high tech under counter kitchen  models that do all the dirty work for you($199 and up from NatureMill). You can even go a step further and buy worm composters or even products that compost pet poo. But again, these gifts are only appropriate for the dedicated green gardener.

Subscription to local gardening magazine – One of the main principles of eco-friendly gardening is to learn to garden WITH Mother Nature, not against her. That means plant things and use techniques that are known to work in the area that you live. When things like rain, snow (or dark of night) keep the avid gardener inside, there is nothing quite like curling up with a great garden magazine that makes you eager to get back out there in the dirt. Since 2005, Washington Gardener Magazine has been providing information to gardeners in the DC/Virginia/Maryland region. A yearly subscription is $20.00 and contains six issues.

Should you give plants? I don’t really recommend giving plants to people unless you are sure about the site conditions of their property and how much time and energy they plan to devote to gardening. I think a gift certificate or gift card at a local nursery is much more thoughtful and allows them to choose their own plants or opt for something more soothing to their garden soul, such as a wind chime or bird bath.
Here’s a gift that I have to share just because of its uniqueness. The Kangaroo pocket apron lets you pull weeds and trim plants and carry the trimmings to your compost pile in a Kangaroo style pocket ($38.50 from Lee Valley)

Of course, one of the best things that you can give to any new gardener is your time, your expertise and your enthusiasm. Being generous with all of them may be the greatest gift of all.

And of course, the greatest gift for a garden blogger?????? Our followers! Thanks so much to all of you and remember, you can join us on Facebook, too!

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