For the past week I've been chipping away at the holiday gift-buying expectations, and I must admit that up to this point, nothing I've purchased has had anything to do with gardening. Perhaps this is because the gardeners in my life are outfitted with everything they need--all the tools, grow lights, and references on their bookshelves to supplement their already-expansive working knowledge. Not to mention that my daughter and most of my eight(!) nieces and nephews are at that awkward age between curiosity about nature and mature reconnection with it, a period that can sometimes last more than ten years (okay, that might be a cynical exaggeration). And if someone mysteriously leaves you a garden gnome working on a laptop, which really happened to my parents right before Thanksgiving (they found it on a stone wall near their garden, but my father took it inside tonight to take this photo), then what else could top that?Having read an article in today's Boston Globe about the best and worst holiday plants, I got to thinking about what I might or could give that special gardener if the opportunity arose. Here is a very random selection of ideas. But first, I want to make it clear that there is no possibility at this time that I would need to disclose that I'm getting paid in any form by any of the vendors or manufacturers offering these items described below--not that anyone would suspect I'd be getting a kickback for my humble musings.
Winter is the time for planning next season's garden. A novice might need a hand in determining what to plant and when to plant it. For those with an iPhone or iPod touch, and if you are extremely cheap, you might want to check out the Garden Guide application; only 99 cents puts information about plants and their growing conditions at a gardener's fingertips. For the Luddite grower, there is the Clyde Planting Chart and its sliding adjuster, no computer required. Or better yet, pick up one of my favorite books, The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, which I often consult first for basic, straightforward advice.
Got a depressed gardener on your list? Maybe a Full Sun Grow Lamp is the answer. Not only does it offer a full spectrum of light, but could be used to prevent the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a little small for starting lots of seeds but if you place it on your bedside table, it will be near enough that you can roll over and stick your head under it on those mornings you are so despondent that you can't get out of bed. And when a foam pad or folding stool just won't do, there's the Tractor Scoot. For $89.95, you can pull a swiveling seat around like a wagon. I predict a motor in the next version.
It's amazing what new accessories are available these days. I often find that what I grow is beautiful enough on its own. However, we have recently acquired a loved one who is deserving of a gift, and have found just the thing for him. Because everyone could benefit from a garden.