|Wrap it up: Whether it’s all the components of a bird feeding station, or a single item like a large cart, good taste demands that you wrap all gifts. Huge and fairly attractive bags big enough to hold a bicycle are available, but get creative. Add a picnic basket to the cart, then wrap or drape it in a blanket or tablecloth. If you’ve forced narcissus bulbs this year, drop them into colorful tall buckets for gifting. Not only will every gardener appreciate a new bucket, but the added height will help keep flower stems from flopping out of their pots if you forgot to put vodka in the water.
Choosing a fish or a pole: There’s a big difference between gifts for someone and enabling the giftee to get what they really need and want. If you’ve seen a gardening friend’s tools and know that a favorite shovel has a broken handle, get it fixed, cleaned and sharpened. But if the broken tool was a piece of junk to begin with, give a better one. Still better, take the friend to lunch and shopping for the best one available. The outing itself plus the perfect ‘fit’ for the new tool can be a double-good gift. Just because you think a friend’s unfocused garden could use a new huge angel statue or a gazebo doesn’t guarantee a happy recipient. Certainly both are grand gifts, for the right gardener. Arrange for an onsite consult with a designer or architect and let both giver and givee participate in the decision. You may know more about materials, or have a superior installation crew, so let those be the gift and leave the decision-making to the one who will live with it.
In a good name: Presents to one gardener can create glorious ripples across the community, and do not have to be expensive. Give gardening books in your friend’s name to the library, buy or extend a membership at the local botanic garden, nature center, or children’s garden. Get a group of friends to agree to host an event honoring a great gardener, and invite a speaker or consultant no one would afford individually. Who knows? You might start an annual garden seminar. Give gift cards from your favorite nursery or one in your friend’s hometown.
I’ll provide more idea all month and please! Forget the new garden hose – that’s the gardener’s gift equivalent of a steam iron!
…Inspired by a piece written for NGA in 2006.