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: http://www.garlandnursery.com/gift_ideas_2015.html. 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.

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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