Bonsai Comes Full Circle

bonsaiIt’s a funny thing about life and gardening, they return to their beginnings.  So it is with bonsai at Garland Nursery.  We have enjoyed a good relationship with Wee Tree Farm and then Wee Tree, LLC. since 1986, both separate businesses with wonderful owners.  However, that’s not where Garland Nursery’s connection to bonsai began.

It all started in the 70’s with a dear, kilt-wearing Scotsman named Stuart Fraser.  He was a unique and multi-talented individual.  I remember taking work breaks with him in the old glass greenhouse, since torn down.  There he sat with coffee and cigarette, plus Triscuits and cream cheese.  He enjoyed sharing, in his lovely Scottish brogue, about his life story, which included time living on a tea plantation in India.  He was a landscape designer, an avid fan of heaths and heathers, and an expert pruner.  Also, he had a passion for bonsai.  He talked my parents into opening a bonsai department.  Some company must have been doing cabling work in the area, because the display tables were mostly large wooden spools in a couple different sizes.  Stuart had a work table and stool in the bonsai area and he would work on fashioning the plants into wonderful works of art.  In fact, the bonsai area is right where it remains today.  Stuart hand-lettered signs for the bonsai in Japanese characters.  I remember being amazed at that knowledge of foreign symbols.  We sold pots, wire, plants, tools, figures and those wonderful finished bonsai.  I don’t remember about selling soil, but I do remember Stuart sifting soil before it went into a bonsai pot.

All things change and eventually Stuart moved with his wife, a new lawyer, to Portland where she joined a law firm.  He continued to come down to the Corvallis area to do pruning for many of his former customers.  He would stop in to visit, when he was down this way.diane

In the early 1980’s, Garland Nursery hired Diane Lund.  Diane hailed from Minnesota by way of Alaska and she had a passion for bonsai.  Diane soon took over managing the Garland Nursery bonsai department.  Also, she rented a home on the nursery property.  In 1986, Diane decided to take the plunge of operating a wholesale bonsai business.  She named it Wee Tree Farm and worked out an arrangement with my parents, Don and Sandra, to take over the bonsai peggydepartment operating as a separate business (what those in the business world like to call a concessionaire.)  She used land at the nursery next to her dwelling for plants, eventually building a greenhouse and office.  She imported pottery and had bonsai soil specifically made with the Wee Tree name.
As her sales expanded she needed more room, which she found in Kings Valley.  She began online sales, eventually hiring Dan White to operate that.  She had a longtime manager of the retail space at Garland, by the name of Peggy.  When Peggy retired, Diane hired Rose Bailey.  Again lives rosechanged and Diane decided it was time to return home to Minnesota.
In 2014, Dan and Rose bought Wee Tree Farm, renaming it Wee Tree, LLC.  Rose poured her heart into the retail portion and Dan continued with online sales.  Sadly, Rose and Dan decided to close Wee Tree at Garland Nursery on September 19, 2016.

Garland Nursery had a big decision to make, whether to continue
with a bonsai department operated solely by us.  We’re talking 30 yearbrad_saindons since the nursery has managed a bonsai department.  Are we up to the challenge?  We hope so.  Brad Saindon, is managing the area. He is a former college and Olympic volleyball coach who now is using his coaching skills in the bonsai department.  We are happy to have helping us Dr. CJ “Bud” Weiser, former head of the horticulture department and Dean of College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Since
retiring 23 years ago, Bud has pursued his artistic interests in styling, growing, and selling finished bonsai trees and sculpting in stone and bronze.bud

There are many other staff contributors to the new/old bonsai department at Garland Nursery, giving it a little twist.  Kathy and Erica worked hard to redesign the space and display product.  They have incorporated different items into the space, including Asian statuary, gongs, and an inviting patio set.  Theo,  a second generation Garland staff member, is helping out with set-up and learning a lot about growing bonsai.  Brad will be the primary person in bonsai, Wednesday through Saturday, and most Sundays.

The bonsai area is now fully open.  We hope you take an opportunity to come out and take a look.  As we learn and grow, please feel free to offer us bonsai_buddafeedback about items we may be missing.  There will continue to be bonsai classes/workshops on the second Saturday of every month at 11 am.  Brad, Bud, and guest teachers will be conducting these sessions.  The next one is on November 12th and will cover Over-wintering Your Bonsai and related topics.

Finally, a word of thanks to everyone (some named here and some not) that have contributed to bonsai at Garland Nursery for the last 45 years.  It’s been a pleasure working with all of you. We look forward to continuing the Garland Nursery tradition of offering one-stop shopping for all things bonsai.

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Spring Beauties

Imagine it is late January or early February and you look out your window to see purple, white and striped crocus blooming in your flower bed.  Next come the daffodils spreading their golden cheer around.  dreamstime_xl_8891980-1In March, the parade of tulips begin-bright red, orange, purple or pink.  When these spring beauties bloom in my landscape I feel a joyful sense of surprise.  Their pretty flowers make me smile.  Add to that a little unexpected sunshine and the native bees gathering pollen and I experience a tranquil, uplifting moment.  After the dreary days of January, I need something to perk me up.

I can’t imagine not having flowering bulbs in my landscape.  Ordering them for the nursery has been one of my responsibilities for almost 30 years.  I get to look at the catalogs, check out the new varieties and decide what the Garland Nursery customers might like to grow.  There are so many ways to add spring flowering bulbs to your landscape: in pots, large drifts, small bunches, or even in the lawn.  One of my favorite ways to use them is combined with herbaceous perennials, those bloomers that die down each winter.  Crocus and daffodils work well with plants that pop out of the ground in April or May.  The bulbs add color when there is just bare ground and the perennial covers up the bulb foliage as it begins to look scruffy.  Or plant bulbs that will bloom at the same time as other plants.  Alliums, with their starry, firework flowers look great with daylilies, roses, floxglove and lupines.  Daffodils work nicely with hardy geraniums, forget-me-nots and heath.  One year I had a very happy, unplanned combination of a lavender oriental poppy, Black Parrot tulips, and Cecile Brunner bush rose.

Spring flowering bulbs are available for purchase now.  These include: crocus, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, alliums, fritillaria, snowdrops, muscari, bluebells and other assorted types.  If you’re looking for dahlias, gladiolas, and crocosmia, those tubers and corms are available in February

Here are a few bulb basics followed by some of my favorite varieties:

  1.  Most bulbs do better in a well-drained soil.  Improve the soil with organic matter, plant on mounds, or plant in containers.
  2. The bigger the bulb the larger or more numerous the flowers.
  3. In the Willamette Valley plant them from September-December with the very best time being October and November.
  4. This year’s leaves produce next year’s flowers.  Most bulbs need 6 hours of direct sun per day until their foliage dies down.
  5. Fertilize bulbs.  Mix Espoma Bulb-tone into the soil when you plant the bulbs.  For established bulbs, apply it as the bulbs pop out of the ground.
  6. Don’t cut off or tie up the leaves while they are still green.  See #4.
  7. Crocus and daffodils “naturalize” (multiply).  Grape hyacinths (Muscari) and Bluebells take over.  However, most tulips don’t come back for more than a couple years.  Your best bet for tulips that keep on going is to pick Darwin Hybrids (like Pink Impression and Parade), Emperor tulips, or a species tulip (such as greggii varieties).  Or pick your favorite one and plant new bulbs each fall.

Now for some of my favorite bulbs and a couple new ones….


T. humilis violacea (also known as T. pulchella violacea:  a species tulip that comes back nicely.  This is an heirloom from 1860.  It grows 4-6″ tall with purplish-rose flowers and yellow base inside.

T. greggii ‘Red Riding Hood’:  Dramatic mottled foliage and brilliant carmine-red flowers with a black base.  A mid-season bloomer that grows 10″ tall.

‘Couleur Cardinal’: an heirloom from 1845.  It blooms early (late March-April depending).  The scarlet-red, flushed plum flowers are fragrant.

‘Princess Irene’:  Fragrant variety introduced in 1949.  Flowers are an unusual soft orange with warm purple accent.

‘Apricot Beauty’:  the first tulip I ever grew and still a favorite.  Fragrant (this is a theme), soft salmon-rose with apricot edges.

‘Pink Impression’ and ‘Red Impression’: These Darwin hybrids have huge flowers on strong, tall stems.  Blooms mid-season (April).  20-22 inches tall.

‘Ballerina’: A lily-flowered variety.  It had a citrus fragrance.  Marigold-orange flowers flare out at the top.

Tulipa 'Orange Angelique'

Tulipa ‘Orange Angelique’

‘Orange Angelique’:  A double late or peony tulip with large (up to 4 inches across) flowers.  This is a newer variety that is a cousin of the highly popular Angelique.  Best if protected from rain.

‘Black Parrot’: Heirloom circa 1937.  A very dark purple (there isn’t really a truly black tulip) with fringed edges.  A late bloomer (usually May).

A new Beautiful Blend-‘Twilight Sparkle’:  Fringed tulips in white and purple.


Tete a tete: Cute and short (like me)!  Very early blooming, with 2-3 flowers per stem.  The petals bend backwards slightly (reflexed is the term).  They are buttercup-yellow with a darker yellow trumpet, although it never appears two-toned to me.  This variety is great en masse or forced in pots.

‘Flower Record’: Scented 1940’s naturalizer with white petals, a yellow base and cup-shaped yellow cup edged in red.

‘Professor Einstein’: 1940 introduction.  Fragrant, naturalizer is white with a disk-shaped reddish-orange cup.

‘Pheasant’s Eye’:  This is a 1850 heirloom.  A variety of “Poet’s Narcissus”.  It is fragrant.  Thenarcissus-poeticus-pheasants-eye-daffodil3 flowers have reflexed white petals with a small, red-edged yellow cup and green eye.


‘Wave’:  A double flowered Daffodil with an ivory perianth behind a lemon-meringue frilled cup with white highlights.


Snowdrops: Double or single or giant.  Great naturalizers.  Thessnowdrops_feb_2009e are my Edelweiss.


Crocus:  The first harbingers of spring.  ‘Orange Monarch’ is an unusual color but I love the striped ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Vanguard’ a 1934 heirloom I stopped carrying because I was the only fan.

Hyacinths: ‘Delft Blue’ is still my favorite.


A. christophii:  I mixed this one in with my Happy Returns daylilies.  A 1884 heirloom. Also called ‘Star of Persia’.  It sounds exotic.

A. schubertii:  Amazing. alliumschubertii_0431

A. aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’: A 2-2 1/2 tall grower with dense purple flowers.  It blooms in late May or early June.allium-silver-spring-gardenista

A. ‘Silver Spring’: new to us this year.  It looks intriguing.

Anemone blanda:  Grecian windflowers.  The name sounds carefree aanemone_blanda_ms_0152nd they are.  They do well in my garden.  Available only in mixed colors-blue, white and pink.


Leucojum:  Summer snowflake is the common name but they really bloom in spring.  I’m guessing there is more than one species.  They are like snowdrops only taller.



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Get Your Garden Growing

IMG_1050Apple Sox to the Rescue

Tired of wormy apples?  Wish there was a non-toxic way to treat them just once time per year and not have to worry about them again?  Well now there is!IMG_1051

Apple sox are here and now is the time to put them on.

When your young apples are the size of the end of your thumb, thin the clusters of apples to the “best of the bunch”, slip an apple sox over it, twist the open end a little to close the gap and you’re done. (For redder varieties, remove the sox a week or so prior to picking.)

Don’t like wormy apples?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

MicromeshMicromesh tunnel of protection

Imagine a chemical-free garden where broccoli and kale have no aphids. Where spinach and chard aren’t riddled with leaf miners.  Where you can watch the pretty white butterflies flit about without fearing for the safety of your cabbages!

Now that can be your garden.  Simply place a micromesh Easy tunnel over your vegetable row when you plant.  It’s a quick, simple, and best of all-chemical free way to protect your plants.  Air, light and water get in-pests stay out.

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Growing Little Gardeners

  • Last week my husband and I enjoyed a visit from his daughter, her husband and two children. We love all of them and enjoy the limited time we are able to spend with them.  Being a grandparent is a joy. I especially enjoy sharing those activities that are also my favorites: coloring, making up stories and taking walks. This visit I shared the love of gardening. It wasn’t the first time I realize as I write this. We pulled weeds together when we visited them in Italy last summer. However, this was the first time we planted something together and I had their undivided attention. We planted lettuce and then watered it in. It didn’t take long and I didn’t share as many lessons as I could/should have shared. My grandson, Maxton, is 2 1/2.  He found something else to do after the lettuce planting. Mia, who is 5, stayed with me for quite a while.  We pulled weeds, watched a bee buzz around and caught a worm burrowing into the ground. I’d like to say it was some magical, important event but it wasn’t. That’s okay. It also wasn’t watching videos on the phone or being glued to any other electronic device.  No one fought.  It was peaceful and simple. It was a pleasant afternoon and I was glad to be doing something I loved with someone I love.  Thank you, Mia.
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Incorporating Edibles into Your Landscape

Edible_bedGrowing fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs brings the wholesome goodness of these tasty treats right to your table. Many of us don’t have time or space for a full-fledged vegetable garden and orchard but we can still incorporate our favorite edibles into existing gardens or containers on balconies, decks or patios.

Several culinary herbs are as attractive as they are flavorful. Consider the beauty and fragrance of lavender, rosemary and lemon thyme. Also striking in borders is the smoky, filigree foliage of bronze fennel, the pebbly-textured, aromatic foliage of sage in green, purple, tricolor or golden hues and the glossy purple foliage of Red Rubin or Purple Ruffles basil. Parsley and cilantro, so tasty in many Basil.RedRubinrecipes, make lovely clumps of finely-cut green foliage with interesting texture. Chives bearing fluffy purplish-pink flowers above grassy-looking foliage and garlic chives, sporting starbursts of white blooms in late summer, can provide lovely cut flowers as well as flavor to many dishes. Mints of many varieties are great in pots, keeping their spreading tendencies in check. All of these herbs look fabulous in pots or as deer-resistant accents in your gardens. Try a few pots of your favorite culinary herbs near your kitchen to snip as needed.

Vegetables can also be visually appealing. Plant a pot of colorful lettuces of lime green and red shades or add as edging to gardens. Rainbow chard bears bold foliage with strikingly colorful stems in pots or garden beds. Kale is a super nutritious and tasty vegetable with often ruffled or textured foliage in blue-green to red tones. Plant bold silver-leaved artichokes with architectural paste-tomatoes-on-red-benchfoliage as accents in a border. Add vertical interest by growing peas or pole beans up teepees of bamboo stales. Grow squash, cucumbers, pumpkins or melons over an arbor or trellised on a wall or fence. Determinate tomatoes can be kept smaller than indeterminate ones so are your best candidates for growing in pots if your space is limited. A pot with a paste tomato, your favorite pepper and basil could be the start of many tasty meals. A raised bed or galvanized feed trough can let you try all kinds of healthy fresh vegies. Check out square foot gardening in books or on line for lots of great ideas.

espalierFruit trees, pruned well, can be very attractive, bearing beautiful flowers in spring followed by delectable fruit in summer or fall. If space is limited consider espaliered fruits along a fence or wall. Columnar apples like Golden Sentinel, Scarlet Sentinel or Northpole form vertical accents in gardens or containers.

Blueberries  are very ornamental, offering white or pink flowers in spring, followed by bareblueberrydeliciously nutritious blue berries, stunning red fall foliage and colorful gold or red stems in winter. Many can be grown in containers, including the Brazelberry collection (Jellybean, Pink Icing, Peach Sorbet, Blueberry Glaze and their newest introduction, Perpetua, a shrub that bears once in summer and again in fall) Also in this collection is Raspberry Shortcake, a compact raspberry perfect for containers.

Think vertically, growing grapes or kiwi vines on an arbor, fence or trellis. Gooseberries, currants, goji berries, raspberries and blackberries bear abundant, tasty, nutritious fruit along a fence or trellised on a wall.

Strawberries, so sweet and good for you, are easily grown in pots, window boxes, raised beds or as ground cover in existing beds.

If you have sunny rooms or a sun room or greenhouse you can grow a wide array of sweetly fragrant citrus plants (lemons, limes, oranges, kumquats, etc.) in pots that move in during winter andedible-garden out for the summer.

We all know fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and are such a big part of creating the most delicious meals. All of us can find a way to experience the delight of harvesting at least a few of our favorite edibles.

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How to Create a Low Maintenance Garden

dreamstime_xl_63837083For over 30 years I have been a passionate gardener, spending every weekend and evening creating a huge perennial garden of jungle-like proportions. I loved every minute of it for most of those years, but as I approached 60 years of age it started to take more time and energy than I had to give. So many people I have talked to, young and old, are also ready to create a low-maintenance garden — beautiful spaces they can relax and entertain in, have room to dine outside and grow a few fresh fruits and veggies, yet not be slaves to their garden.

                The key to creating a low-maintenance garden begins dreamstime_xl_41638536with design. Think of how you want to use your garden:

-Patios and decks where you can relax, dine and entertain

-Walkways to comfortably get around your garden

-A welcoming entryway

-An area for kids and pets to play

-A service or work area for compost bins, trash bins, wood storage and chopping area,  garden shed for tools

                Once you know what you want, you can plan your own 61eEzrm2V1L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_layout of how to fit those things in or consult with a designer who can help you with a plan. There is an excellent book by Valerie Easton called ‘The New Low-Maintenance Garden’ that can give you lots of inspiration but also magazines, garden design books and Pinterest can give you good ideas. Considering lawns are very high- maintenance, taking continual mowing, edging, watering, fertilizing, and weed control, minimize lawn areas by replacing some with generously-sized patios and decks, seating areas, walkways and raised beds. Replace lawn below the dry root-filled shade of trees with wide swaths of low-maintenance groundcovers.

                Evaluate the plants in your garden. Remove any plants that are creating problems. If a plant requires spraying for insects or disease every year, take it out. Do you have plants that are too big for their allotted spot, that you have to continually prune? Is it attractive or more of an eyesore? Once you have a clean slate, select plants that are easy to maintain and happy in the conditions in which you want them to grow. There are many beautiful NW natives well adapted to our drydreamstime_xl_5767342 summers and wet winters. Dwarf conifers in a wide array of colors, forms and textures require very little fussing. Many trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, perennials, ferns and grasses can be low-maintenance. See sidebar for some suggestions or see us for more options.

                Very few plants grow well in concrete-like soil so it’s important to improve the soil in whole beds or large planting holes for new plants to get a good start. Right plant, Right place means putting sun tolerant plants in mostly sunny spots and shade lovers in full shade or afternoon shade. Put wet tolerant plants in boggy spots and stick to drought tolerant plants in roasting hot areas, where it’s difficult to water or where you don’t want to water for years to come. Even drought tolerant plants need regular watering for their first year or two. We have many handouts with wet-tolerant, drought tolerant, NW natives, etc. to help you find plants for your situation.

                To lower water use, group plants with similar water needs together in beds. Use drip or soaker hoses to save water and reduce weed growth between plants. Mulching between plants conserves water, cuts down on weeds and keeps your soil in good tilth. Using weed barrier or a layer of card board or newspapers below mulch can cut down on weeding. If you have an automatic watering system turn it off on days we get sufficient rain and adjust  the amount of watering time as seasonal temperatures change.

                There is no doubt that vegetable gardens are much easier to maintain in raised beds. You can concentrate on improving the soil in beds instead of paths and better soil grows healthier vegies. Use drip irrigation to conserve moisture, lessen disease and discourage weeds between plants. Floating row covers of Harvest Guard placed over vegies like kale, broccoli, cabbage and other brassicas and spinach, chard and carrots keeps them totally insect free with no sprays. Close planting for complete bed coverage keeps weeds from moving in. Be sure to rotate your vegetable crops to prevent disease and insect problems.

                Gardening is such a sensual, life affirming pleasure when it’s not overwhelming. Whether you revamp your whole garden or take on a few improvements each year, you can reach the goal of a beautiful yet low-maintenance garden.

Here are some suggestions of plants:

Low-Maintenance Plants:








Hardy Geranium(avoid self-seeders like Claridge Druce)








Solomon’s Seal

Also most ferns and ornamental grasses (avoid self-seeders and running types)





Fine Line Buckthorn

Flowering Currant



Japanese holly varieties



Osmanthus Goshiki


Winter Hazel

Witch Hazel


Also most dwarf conifers

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Gift Ideas: Christmas 2015

IMG_1379Let me be honest from the start, gift buying is not my favorite activity.  I either spend too much time trying to come up with the perfect gift and I get frustrated and buy a gift card or I wait until the last minute and what I want is sold out.  Not to mention that I find one thing for me for every gift I buy for someone else.  I really need a personal shopper.  So why am I writing a blog with gift giving suggestions, you ask?  Well, I am a gardener and a cook.  I know what I use and like.  I’m one of the owners and co-buyers  at Garland Nursery.  Plus, my sister, Erica, is helping me out.  She’s a great gift giver and she doesn’t hesitate to offer her opinion on our products.

Following are a few of Erica’s and my gift ideas from Garland Nursery.  (At the end of the article is a link to the complete list on Garland Nursery’s website.)  If you’ve been a customer for a while, you’ll notice that many of the items have appeared on our gift list for a number of years.  We like to call those “Tried and Atlas_glovesTrue”.  Just because you’ve seen them before doesn’t mean they’re boring or shouldn’t be included.  A good example is gloves.  Most gardeners use gloves.  Most gardeners own gloves.  Depending on what kind of gloves they own, most gardeners can always use a new or extra pair of gloves.  Think of gloves as the gardening equivalent of socks.  I am astounded at how many people get up at 5 in the morning on Black Friday to buy socks for Christmas presents.  (Maybe they are stocking stuffers.)  If you or your recipient are sick of socks (and gloves) move on to the next idea.  If not, think about giving a new pair.  They could be inexpensive, colorful, fit for a specific purpose like rose pruning, or a more expensive pair of leather or leather-palmed gloves.

Dramm-Compact-ShearsAlso on the tried and true list are pruners, sickles, and the hori hori japanese soil knife.  My take on pruners is that every gardener should have an excellent pair of pruners and possibly a cheaper pair that they can stash closer to the garden, that they won’t regret losing or running over with the lawnmower.  The excellent  brand, in my opinion, is Felco.  They’ve been made in Switzerland since 1945 with high quality materials.  They are built to last.  For most models, all parts are replaceable.  You can sharpen the blades.  There are holsters to hold them that attach to your belt.  Their models include ones for small hands, left-handed people, and rotating handle pruners that ease the strain on the wrist.  Sickles are a small tool that are a huge seller.  This is one that I started using only recently.  Erica raves about them.  When I realized that some of the garden club members I know bought them in multiples, I decided I better try using one.  Sickles are great for pruning down perennials and grasses with a multitude of soft, fleshy growth.  I use mine on Iris, daylilies and small grasses.  We have a Maiden Grass  that is 5Sickle feet wide.  I will sheepishly admit that my husband cuts that one down with an electric hedge trimmer, although a sickle would definitely work and be easier than pruners or loppers or even shears (which I find difficult to use).  The hori hori japanese weeder knife is a tool that does multiple jobs.  It works as a trowel, a scoop, a weeder, a bulb planter, and for cutting roots.  I like it because it is super cool and makes me feel like a ninja.  If my husband gets to have all the tools he needs to feel  like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, then I ought to get to feel like a gardening ninja.

SloggersThen there are the “Tried and True” items with a new design or a new brand.  Gardening shoes are a must.  I have a pair I can easily slip on by all three of the outside doors of my house.  I’m more of a solid color girl, but colorful, patterned shoes and boots are popular.  This year, Sloggers introduced the chicken pattern in either a yellow or red background.  These are the cutest shoes and boots  I’ve seen in a long time and they’re Made in the USA.  For about a year, we’ve been carrying a new brand of tools, DeWit.  Handmade in Holland since 1898, they are guaranteed for a lifetime.  They are quality tools with a price to match.  We carry the most popular of their extensive selection.  Things like:  sporks,  T-grip spades, half-moon pull hoes and a disc weeder.  In the category of

wind chimes, we have bamboo wind chimes from Cohasset Gifts.  There are some with funny bobbing birds on top, beach themed chimes and simple ones.  Bamboo chimes  offer a softer, more natural sound.  The sound is soothing and bamboo is eco-friendly.

New items to make the gift giving list include an herb stripper, terrariums and recylced plastic Adirondack chairs.  I enjoy cooking and I love to use fresh herbs.  I’m a slow, zen chef and I lack knife skills.  (Actually there are two non-nursery gift ideas: cooking classes focusing on knife skills and Hello Kitty band-aids).  Back to topic:  the herb stripper from Chef’n is efficient for getting those little-leaved herbs like Thyme and Rosemary off the stems.  The receptacle is a measuring device.  So now when the recipe says I need 2 tablespoons of fresh Thyme, I know when I have the needed amount.  I know most cooks just eyeball it.  Not me, I prefer to be precise.  That’s a curse unless you’re a baker, but I figure I’m not the only one that herb_strippermeasures when they cook.  Chef’n has a lot of other cool cooking gadgets.  We sell quite a few of them.

Terrariums are hot this year.  There are so many styles to choose from: hanging, sitting, cloche, jar lid, retro, and molded glass on wood.  You can plant them up or set an air plant inside.  If you wanted, you could even create a non-living, miniature garden in one.  That would be perfect for someone with a black thumb that still wants to garden.  For the DIY person, there is a kit to build your own.  Just add plants.  We looked for quite a while for a high-quality, good-looking, non-wood adirondack chair from an easy to work with company.  This year we finally found it.  CR Plastics out of Canada makes beautiful, comfortable chairs from recycled plastic in a range of UV protected colors.  Kathy4They’re awesome.  They have other furniture, too.  We have a good selection of chairs in stock for Christmas gifts.  Thinking ahead to next year, we can special order anything in any color.

There are so many more ideas and I didn’t even mention plants, bulbs and seeds.  Check out the complete list on our website: Still stuck or have someone on your list that is particular?  I can relate.  A gift card still works.  Attach it to an inexpensive pair of gloves, a bar of soap, a package of seeds or a hand tool and it’s just a little bit more the card alone.  Or create a fun gift wrap with kraft paper, fresh leaves, and/ or flower stencils.  Write a poem about nature and include it with the gift card.  Not a poet?  Find one you like that someone else wrote.  Whatever you do, have fun and be at peace.  Life’s too short, gardening should be enjoyable and Christmas is about love.

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