Holiday gift ideas for gardeners

Holiday gift ideas for gardeners

Photo courtesy of Jeanine Langerud | Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle is open year-round and provides a warm respite for plant lovers during winter's harshest weather.

by Lorene Edwards Forkner

"Green" up your holidays with gifts for gardeners that don't require a last-minute trip to the mall or elaborate, yet wasteful, wrappings. Face it, your favorite plant enthusiast doesn't need another garden plaque inscribed with a pithy pun involving a play on the word "thyme." This year, give the gift of experience, membership and your good company - always appreciated and never the wrong size.

If you're an expert gardener, consider offering a coaching session to someone who may just be learning their maple from their mulch. Pass along your particular expertise to a beginner by giving a gift certificate promising a days' work spent weeding, pruning or generally tidying up. Such a gift will be warmly welcomed by anyone with more landscape than leisure time to maintain it. More hands - the only tool a gardener never misplaces - and good company make even the most onerous garden chores a breeze. Arrive with a springtime load of compost, help spread it around and you'll be a horticultural hero!

Garden clubs, organizations and regional publications are fertile ground for growing gardeners. For the moderate price of an annual membership or subscription you'll open the gate to a vibrant calendar of lectures, activities, garden tours and plant sales that will keep passionate gardeners engaged throughout the year.

Grow a green thumb and your local economy alike when you stuff a stocking with a gift certificate to a neighborhood nursery. Nurseries are our link between the horticultural bounty of the Northwest and the path to success in our own backyards, and the real value of any nursery is the people behind the plants. Whether they're helping to select a tree, plan a new vegetable garden or solve a particularly pesky pest problem, knowledgeable nursery workers are a wealth of information. Be sure to visit to read the reviews of greenhouses/nurseries in your area.

Anyone looking to avoid the harsh winter weather will appreciate an invitation to visit a local conservatory or other indoor garden. And don't overlook the zoo! From lush tropical rainforests to bone-warming desert exhibits, today's zoo environments are as much about habitat and plants as they are animals. All offer a welcome reprieve to winter and help tide us over these cold and rainy days until spring returns and we can get back into the garden once again.

Lorene Edwards Forkner, freelance writer, garden designer and food enthusiast, revels in the seasonal pleasures and broad scope of gardening in the Pacific Northwest. She's a contributing writer to Northwest Garden News and author of Hortus Miscellaneous.

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