Making a gardener’s Christmas list, checking it twice

Monday, April 30, 2018 2:57 PM
Ann assortment of terrariums, vases, jars and succulent displays bringing an otherwise ordinary corner of a home to life, creating an interior landscape in miniature.

I know that finding the perfect gift can be a challenge.

Everyone has “that” person on their holiday gift list, the one who has everything. The one who is impossible to buy for. The one you end up giving fruit baskets to because there simply aren’t many other options. Gift-giving dilemmas face all of us at one time or another, but because a good list can help to solve those problems, I’m sharing green industry-based ideas for many people on your holiday list, not just for the die-hard gardeners.

Kids are among the easiest to gift with something green, although many people don’t think along those lines. Are you the fun relative? The one that takes them apple picking every year? The one that buys the odd, but oh-so-fun-and-popular presents? The ones that no one else would ever think of? Then how about gifting them their own apple tree to plant and watch grow, then help them plant it? You’ll create a family memory, and they’ll enjoy the fruit for years to come.

For the science geek in your family, consider a Venus flytrap or other carnivorous plant. A cactus garden is an edgy, but always fun gift because it’s so easy to care for, but best suited for those kids old enough to understand the purpose of the thorns. Terrariums make great gifts and can be customized as a fairy garden for the girls or a dinosaur jungle for the fellows. Let your imagination run wild when gifting for kids – as long as it’s not socks or underwear.

If your recipient is into organic gardening, consider filling a basket with organic products they will use in the garden throughout the coming year. It might include some of the obvious things like gloves, trowels, and organic seeds, but might also include organic controls and problem solvers. Consider a gift card too, so that they can come back in the spring and get their ladybugs, for instance, to use to control aphid populations, or purchase their vegetable plants.

Foodies are always fun to shop for, and they are among the easiest to wow with a thoughtfully chosen gift since anything that includes the latest and greatest is pleasing for them. One thing Vic and I have learned is that fresh really does taste best and truly makes a difference in your meals and cooking. Give the foodie on your list the freshest food possible in the way of organic produce, pots of fresh herbs to create a windowsill garden, a Meyer lemon tree, a Bearss lime or other indoor fruit-producing plant. Not only will it be a unique gift, but they will enjoy watching it grow, then harvesting and eating fresh from the tree.

Instead of the usual Christmas ornament for your child’s teacher, consider something out of the ordinary this year. A houseplant for their classroom or home is always welcome, and if the class will be studying plants during the year, it could become part of the lesson plan. The addition of something green, growing and air cleaning is always a good idea in a classroom. Or give him/her a gift card to use once school is out. Not only will they look forward to choosing their favorite summer plants with it, they will be reminded of the thoughtful gift all summer long as they enjoy their flowers.

If a family member is living in an assisted living situation, consider a small, artificial, decorated Christmas tree for them to enjoy through the holidays. You can find small ones that stand only about 12 inches that take up little space. Then offer to come get it after the holidays are over and store it for them. You get to give the holiday gift of something twinkling and bright, and they get the double bonus of two visits instead of one.

Another idea for shut-ins is to take them a flowering or fragrant plant. Paperwhites are especially popular this time of the year, and the fragrance is a wonderful way to remind them of happy memories. African violets are also a favorite because of their easy care and cheerful blooms. These could also be delivered by a local florist if you live far away. Anything green will help make the long, dark days of winter a little more pleasant, especially if they are unable to be outdoors.

Retirees are also among my favorites to select green gifts for at the holidays. Many times they are newly retired so they have time on their hands and a renewed interest in gardening. Gardening can take them back to the time spent in a backyard garden with their parents or grandparents and many have a renewed interest in raising their own healthy food to combat or avoid health issues. For these folks, consider tools, seeds, fertilizer and other items to help them get started. Container gardening is gaining in popularity among those of us who don’t bend well any longer, so a pretty pot filled with all the things they need to get started makes a great presentation.

Garden centers will always have great gifts for the gardeners in your life, but this Christmas, think outside the box. Garden gifts can also be a perfect solution for those hard to buy for folks on your gift list as well!

Gail Vanik can be reached at 970-565-8274 or by email at