I admit that I share the predominantly male affliction of being a somewhat last-minute Christmas shopper. Not the December 24 convenience store type, but December is a busy month in the garden centre, and it’s hard to find time to shop when you’re busy ensuring that your customers have just the right Christmas tree to put their gifts under.
You might fall into this “I shop better under pressure” category as well. If that’s the case, I offer you some gift suggestions for those in your inner circle of family and friends who may be gardeners. People with green thumbs are, thankfully, easy to shop for. Gardening, after all, isn’t something you do, it’s a lifestyle. And lifestyles attract a need for all kinds of cool accessories.
Gardeners love tools. Not gadgets, but good, well-made, last for many years, tools. Felco pruners are the ultimate hand tool for the gardener who grows roses, or grapes, or has lots of vines and deciduous shrubs. They just feel better from the first time you wrap your fingers around the handles, and this feeling intensifies as you clip your way through the garden. Well worth the investment; I’ve had two pairs in nearly 30 years.
Weather is our constant source of conversation, consternation or delight in this country, and gardeners especially keep close tabs on the skies. Thermometers and barometers make good gifts, and a good maximum/minimum thermometer is a useful device for anyone on your list who is fortunate enough to have a greenhouse or a coldframe.
Why is it that cheap watering cans always seem to feel heavier when filled with equivalent amounts of water when compared to their better-made counterparts? Excellence in engineering I suppose. With container gardening exploding in popularity a good watering can is an essential tool. I agree that they can be frightfully expensive for the better names (like Haws), but your gift recipient will think warmly of you every time they fill and empty it, and who wouldn’t want to be thought warmly of several times a week?
I know that time stands still when we’re in the garden, that’s part of the reason why we love it so much. But, we can’t spend all of our time out there, so when you do need to know what time it is it would be nice to look up at a clock that has a horticultural theme. I love the idea of the things in your home reflecting your passions, and what could be nicer for the gardener than a wall clock with a reproduction of a botanical print of lavender, crabapples or roses as the face?
Gardening books are still being published and gardeners are still buying them. We might get much of our how-to advice online but good garden writing on the cultivated landscape and its place in your life never goes out of style. Might I recommend “Sun, Sand and Sagebrush-Lessons from an Okanagan Garden” by this columnist? It’s available at our garden centre and other locations in Penticton and Summerland.
Finally, if you are shopping for someone who doesn’t garden any longer, but still loves plants, why not pot up an amaryllis bulb, or some paperwhites, into a nice container, put a ribbon around it and present it to them? Whatever you decide to do, you had better get to it, the countdown to Christmas is on.

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