The Plant Man by Steve Jones www.landsteward.org
Holiday gift ideas for gardeners and landscape lovers
The Holidays are fast approaching, and no doubt there are some garden enthusiasts on your gift list. Here are some gift ideas for all those Green Thumbs... and some for the "horticulturally challenged" as well.
Hoping to get some garden paraphernalia yourself? Maybe you should circle or highlight some of my suggestions and strategically place this page as a hint for your significant other!
Garden Hose Instead of the common-or-garden variety, treat your favorite horticulture fan to something special. The biggest problem with most hoses is that they get in a tangle and are a real nuisance to stow away after use, even when using a reel with a crank handle.
Recently, several manufacturers introduced self-coiling hoses that look a bit like an oversized version of that curly cable attached to the handset of your telephone. You simply attach one end to the faucet and stretch the hose out to the area you need to water. When you're done, the hose stores itself back in a neat, compact coil. A good example is the aptly-named Anaconda brand that includes a trigger sprayer and a watering wand for about $70.00. There is also smaller version, ideal for use in greenhouses and for watering hang plant baskets.
Bird Feeder A new feeding station is always a welcome gift for anyone who cares about wild birds. You can find a wide variety from basic models at local stores to more sophisticated examples available from mail-order catalogs or online.
To attract the very smallest birds, some feeders utilize a fine mesh that can be filled with thistle and will thwart the beaks of larger birds. Other models have ingenious devices to prevent squirrels devouring all the bird seed, and some come with suet cages attached to the sides to provide a birdy buffet. Expect to pay $20.00 to $75.00, depending on the style and quality of the feeder you select.
Bat House or Butterfly House I've described the benefits of both of these before and you can find a lot more information in previous columns archived at my web site. Go to www.landsteward.org and click on the "Plant Man" column to scroll through the column titles.
Briefly, if the person on your list is plagued by mosquitoes, a bat house provides living quarters for the critters that can consume literally thousands of skeeters every night. And it's the mosquitoes NOT the bats that suck your blood!
A butterfly house provides a sanctuary that will attract these delightful creatures to the garden next summer, particularly when placed near plants that butterflies love, such as Buddleia davidii (also known as the Butterfly Bush).
As always, you get what you pay for. Good quality bat houses and butterfly houses are in the $60.00 - $70.00 range, but certainly look better and last longer than cheaper, flimsier versions.
Gardening Books It seems there is no longer a stigma attached to the word "Dummy." So if your loved one has no self-image issues, consider "Landscaping for Dummies" or "Gardening for Dummies." Both are probably best suited to novice gardeners or new homeowners looking for some basic advice. Available at bookstores and those online book warehouses.
Odds and Ends... You can't go wrong with a good pair of gardening gloves! Both the weekend warrior and the seasoned landscaper need decent gloves to protect their hands from the thorns and splinters.
How about a magazine subscription? There are many titles to choose from. Among the best: Gardening How-To (with step-by-step instructions), Backyard Living (with plans for outdoor DIY projects) or Horticulture (aimed at the serious garden enthusiast).
A garden caddy or cart is a nice gift for anyone who wants to tote along tools, seeds, twine, gloves and everything else as they work on their landscape projects. There are several choices out there from the simple to the more sophisticated.
I'll be happy to provide some specific product suggestions if you care to send me an e-mail with a few details about the person you're buying for or the product you're looking for!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org and for resources and additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org
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