Saturday, December 8, 2012

Let the Shopping Begin!

It's time for my annual "What do I get the gardener for Christmas" list.  Let the shopping begin!

Christmas is perhaps the most inexpensive time to shop for gardeners because it's essentially out of season in most parts of the country.  On the flip side, it can be hard to find garden items in local stores. 

Try your local hardware store for tools, birding stuff, outdoor furniture and accessories.  Our own Hathaways Hardware and Gift Shop has enough stuff on the floor to gift the world.  Quality things at good prices. 

Winter is a great time to read books on garden instruction, beauty, and history.  Most libraries have sale items all the time as do thrift stores.  Although big book stores are getting fewer, I do love to touch and browse a book before I buy.  For electronic users, a gift certificate (G.C.) works.

Every gardener would take a new high quality:  Shovel, pruner and gloves.

There's the whole pamper thing:  Hand cream, sunscreen, exfoliate, massage G.C., lip balm, nail brush, and pedicure G.C.

A prescription pair of sunglasses with frames so large they do keep out the sun from the sides as well as the front.  Light weight and sturdy.

G.C. from any local greenhouse (call if they are closed for the winter).  Aside from locals, there are some speciality mail order greenhouses that may cater to your gardeners particular LOVE. 

Conservation materials such as the rain collection barrels the local NAGS are selling through the country soil and conservation district.

Slinky & coat hanger peanut feeder
Birding items from farm stores, S&C Disticts., Scouts, local crafts person, or whip up one in your shop for a custom gift that is sure to please.  Make sure you have the right sized & placed entry and a drop down door to make cleaning easy.  Seed, suet blocks, and bird books are winners.

Landscapers will issue gift certificates for services.  Your gardener been wanting help with some garden improvements?  Walk redone, a patio layed/built, a tool shed, lawn de thatched, lighting, sod, raised garden bed, topsoil, mulch - the list is endless.

For gardeners that are also into the grill scene:  a grill connected to you home gas line, a new grill, a smoker, deep fryer, utensils, a sturdy place to set it up, and if you want to go HG TV:  an outside kitchen. 

If your gardener has a good sized vegetable garden and preserves the produce:  Pressure cooker/canner, canning jars & lids, dehydrator, food mill, straw, manure (I'm not kidding most gardeners would kill for good aged manure), netting, tomato cages, and a G.C. for rotor tilling.

A G.C. or promise for a trip to public gardens.  In this area:  Anderson Japanese Garden,  Chicago Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Botanical Gardens, Home and Garden Shows, State parks.  A search on line will give up many MANY more than I've listed.

A quality camera.  That has different meaning to different people.  I like one that zooms in close without blurring, instant focus, and a memory card with LOTS of capacity.  Although I'm not professional, I like mine to be light weight and not have to add a large and heavy lens to get good photos in my garden.  A comfortable neck strap and it's at least semi able to handle rain and cold without getting all gummed up or fail.  It has to take some hard knocks and clean off when I forget I've pulled a weed right before I see a photo that must be taken right now.  A bright color means I never sit it down and can't find it; mine is red.  I also have an external drive where I can load zillions of photos without bogging down my computer.  I have a program that lets me edit them.  Not just any program.  If you get into this whole photos of your garden thing, you will want one that lets you play with your pictures.

Don't forget the handmade items from your hand to the gardeners.  Stepping stones, plant markers, bird houses, baths and feeders, fence, and picnic tables.

The only caution on this one is garden art.  Unless you know your gardener's taste really well, I'd steer clear of making or giving garden art.  What's perfect for you may be less perfect for me.

I'm sure I've left your favorites out and feel free to list some in the comment section.  Yes, there's just no excuse for not knowing what to buy your gardener family or friend.  It's simply endless.  And gardeners are almost always the most appreciative of folks. 

Kane setting records rather than gardening.
Seriously:  An hour with one of my teenage grandchildren helping me in the yard is priceless!  Many times this summer grandson, Kane, helped in my gardens.  He's sure he never wants to put out mulch again as long as he lives, but then aren't all things a learning experience.  I certainly learned to much appreciate his being here - not only for helping with the work but it helps to know him better.  Twofer!  

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