I kind of short-changed you all last week with only two gift suggestions for gardeners — although they were fabulous ideas, in my humble opinion. Here are a few more to sink your soon-to-be acquired hori hori into…
“Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide.” This is, hands down, the ultimate gardening bible for Northwest vegetable gardeners. Authored by none other than Seattle Tilth, the information is regionally appropriate, time-tested and easy to understand for both the beginner and advanced gardener. Even the omniscient Whistling Gardener owns one. How’s that for an endorsement?
“Farmer’s Almanac.” A combination of entertainment and education, this publication takes the “Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide” into the next dimension. Part fact and part folklore, the almanac is always fun to read. At the very least it’s cheap entertainment and, at the most, a very useful gardening guide. For less than $10 you can purchase the Farmer’s Almanac calendar. Enjoy it for 12 months by just looking at the beautiful colorful pictures — without having to read a single word. There are days when this is just what I need.
Bird feeders. There is no better form of winter recreation than watching the colorful antics of our local bird populations. Stellar jays, hooded juncos, chickadees, flickers, bushtits and, my very favorite, hummingbirds all visit my yard in the winter because I have water and feed. My yard also has lots of vegetation where they can feel protected and raise their young come spring. I focus on suet for most of my birds and nectar for the hummers — neither of which is very expensive. Suet cakes, with the added bonus of bird watching, makes for a very thoughtful gift.
Mini greenhouses. There are lots of choices out there for the frustrated gardener who is going stir crazy from being stuck inside this time of year. Gardening indoors can be lots of fun, and a small greenhouse with four shelves opens up opportunities. One can grow micro-greens or alfalfa sprouts or just plop in some colorful house plants and breathe in the additional oxygen. Add in another grow light, and you can be well on your way to enjoying the world of greenhouse gardening.
Rubber shoes. Who says that rubber boots have to be boring? Sloggers has been selling whimsical and yet practical rubber shoes and boots for years, and the designs just get better every year. It’s pretty hard to get through the winter around here without a pair of waterproof shoes, so why not have fun with it and try out some Sloggers?
Winter-blooming plants. What kind of nursery professional would I be if I didn’t mention plants as an appropriate gift? Although difficult to wrap and place under the tree, plants make a wonderful gift. Hellebores, primroses, Viburnum “Dawn,” Mahonia “Charity,” camellias — plus a wide range of colorful conifers and broad-leaf evergreens — all provide winter interest in our gardens. There isn’t a gardener in the world who doesn’t appreciate a new plant.
Gift cards. Finally, if all else fails, there is always the gift card. The added bonus of giving a gift card is that it provides an opportunity for you to join the recipient on a field trip to your favorite garden center in the spring. Now that’s a win-win gift in my book.
Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at email@example.com.