Seven last-minute gift ideas for the gardener in your life

Don’t know what to get? Why not try a Farmer’s Almanac, bird feeder, houseplant or gardening tools.

I know it is crunch time for gift buying, and you might still have a few tough ones to figure out. Avoid the crazy mall madness and the need to pay for overnight shipping if you shop online by traveling down to your favorite garden center. You just might find that perfect present you’ve been hunting for. Here are a few last-minute gift ideas:

For your organic-only friend who wants to be actively involved in the food they eat, get them the “Maritime Gardening Guide.” I recommend this book every year because it is, hands down, the ultimate gardening bible for Northwest vegetable growers. Locally authored, the information is regionally appropriate, time-tested, easy to understand for both the beginner and advanced gardener. Even the omniscient Whistling Gardener owns one — how’s that for an endorsement!

For the new home owner who needs gardening tools, get them Wolf Garten tools. You buy one long and one short handle, then you can interchange a whole plethora of heads such as hoes, cultivators, weeders, or what have you. Once they have the handle, you can gift them a new attachment every year. Just think of the possibilities.

For the patriarch in your family who likes to know what’s happening next, get them the Farmer’s Almanac. A combination of entertainment and education, this publication takes the “Maritime Gardening Guide” to the next level. Part fact and part folklore, the almanac is always fun to read. It is a useful gardening guide. You also can purchase the Farmer’s Almanac calendar to be enjoyed all year long, just by looking at the beautiful colorful pictures without having to read a single word. There are days when this is just what I need.

For the animal lover in your life who wants to always take care of all the animals, get them a bird feeder. 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, those crazy hummingbirds, all visit my yard in the winter because I have water, food for them, and lots of vegetation where they can feel protected to raise their young come spring. I focus on suet for most of my birds and nectar for the hummers. It’s a great way to help the birds through winter, while providing fun bird-watching entertainmftent for us.

For your aunt and uncle who have everything, get them a winter interest plant. Although difficult to wrap and place under the tree, plants make a wonderful gift that can be remembered for years as they grow and mature in the garden. Hellebores, “Iceberg Alley” willow, Viburnum “Dawn,” “Charity” Mahonia, Camellias and a wide range of colorfully foliaged conifers and broadleaf evergreens all provide winter interest in our gardens that can be appreciated for years to come.

For the millennial in your in life who’s always plugged into technology, get them a houseplant. Younger people are taking a serious interest in indoor-plant keeping, giving them a healthy new hobby to dive into. Help fuel this new hobby with a cool cactus, a fragrant jasmine, a split-leaf philodendron or a sophisticated succulent container. Houseplants have so many benefits, all by bringing the outdoors in.

For the matriarch in your family who has very specific tastes, get her a gift card. Avoid the headache of trying to find her that perfect gift (one she won’t return later), and let her pick her own present out. This has the added bonus of providing an opportunity for you to join her in a spring field trip adventure (bonding time!) to her favorite garden center. 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

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