It’s that time of year and you’re running out of ideas of what to get your friend or loved one for Christmas–if they’re a gardener, you’re in luck! (And no, I’m not suggesting you get your gardener a cat; this photo of our cat, Cranberry, in a box was just too cute not to use. Although I do think they’re wonderful to have around, pets do not make great gifts.)
Here are my five top gift ideas for gardeners, and most are available without leaving your house.
- Tickets to Canada Blooms – March 14-23, 2014 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. You can order tickets online and print them off instantly. $20 or so each (hunt around, there are 2 for 1 deals available). If your gardener doesn’t reside in the GTA but is open to travelling to Toronto for a visit, this is a worthwhile destination for keen gardeners. Many groups provide bus tours to Toronto for Canada Blooms, so check in your local area to see if that might be an option as well. If Toronto is just too far for you, check to see if there are similar garden functions in your area, or even an interesting garden-related course/seminar you could buy tickets to.
- Membership to a local botanical garden or horticultural society. You can purchase a membership to the Toronto Botanical Garden here (you may have to print off the confirmation email to stick in your loved ones stocking, but a membership card will follow by mail some time in the new year). TBG members receive free admission to the TBG Lecture Series (they have some excellent speakers), discounts on courses, tickets for selected events and purchases at the TBG shop and Garden Café, as well as reciprocal privileges at more than 250 botanical gardens and arboreta across North America and discounts at select Toronto area nurseries. Other botanical gardens would have different offerings; check what’s available in your gardeners area.
- Subscription to a gardening magazine. My current favourite is Garden Making—this is a newish quarterly Canadian publication, packed with great articles for real gardeners. Because it’s new your gardener might not even know it exists yet (which means your gardener will be even more appreciative!) About $20/year. If your gardener already subscribes to Garden Making other magazines that might be of interest are Fine Gardening or Martha Stewart Living (MSL isn’t all about gardening, but there is a significant amount of useful gardening content–more than some “gardening” magazines).
- A gift certificate to a good local or mail-order nursery is always appreciated. Most garden centers in my area sell gift cards (I like Plantworld or Sheridan Nurseries). And some mail-order nurseries also have gift certificates—including Gardenimport.
- Get creative and make a hand-made gift certificate(don’t forget to use some glue and glitter as this is a gift worth far more than money can buy)…offering your services to assist with some gardening tasks. If you’re muscular and your gardener isn’t, they’ll be thrilled with your brute labour (just make sure not to step on their plants while you’re helping). If you’re not built like Mike Holmes, consider offering to take on other tasks for the gardener (like babysitting, caring for an ailing relative, or something else that takes time that the gardener might otherwise spend gardening). Make sure you’re available for the redemption of these certificates during busy gardening times (May, June and September/October fit that bill in my area)!
- Bonus idea – a gift certificate for a store that sells excellent gardening gear (like Felco secateurs, sturdy garden trugs, high quality shovels, etc.). My favourite is Lee Valley Tools; they ship to all of North America or you can visit one of several Ontario outlets (I do not recommend visiting the store during December unless you have a lot of time to wait and enjoy crowds). They have e-gift cards available.