Do you have any gift ideas for my gardening friends? Or decorating hints? The holidays are approaching and I am in a festive spirit.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays to you also! It is very kind and generous of you to think of your friends.
Whether it is Christmas lights, the “Festival of Lights,” or celebrating the winter solstice, holiday greens will perk up the house and yard. Evergreen trees, wreaths, greens and garland look alive and well, while deciduous trees look forlorn (fear not, they are just dormant).
A festive doormat can be cheerful. Other outdoor ideas for decorating or gift-giving include a bird feeder, insect house, fire bowl, garden chair or other furniture and solar lights.
A gardener needs good tools. How about a garden hat, gloves, apron/belt or boots? For the garden, plant markers, trowel, shovel, rake, hoe, weeder, spade, pruning shears/secateurs, by-pass pruners/loppers and pruning saw. Hand cream, sun block and insect repellent will be very welcome come springtime.
Indoors, where it is warm and inviting, consider a garden-inspired ornament, dish garden, terrarium, spray bottle, forced bulb kits such as amaryllis or paper white narcissus. I love the look of paper whites but the smell to me is unpleasant. I found out why. They are native to the Mediterranean and had a delightful smell. In the 1970s, there was an effort to produce more flowers on stronger stems. Israeli horticulturists traded one plant characteristic for another more marketable trait. Cultivars have names like ‘Ziva,’ ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Galilee.’ The Israelis are geniuses in the field of horticulture — they developed drip irrigation, drought resistant potatoes, and some biological pest controls.
There are other heirloom paperwhites. Look for ‘Erlicheer,’ ‘Early Pearl,’ ‘Avalanche,’ ‘Chinese Sacred Lily,’ ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’ (it’s a golden yellow!). Google these names or try contacting Old House Gardens, American Meadows, Easy to Grow, and Caribbean Gardens. Check the cultural requirements — soil, air temperature, watering, etc., that may be different from newer cultivars.
A good winter read is always welcome. How about the Farmers’ Almanac or books on particular plants like “Hydrangeas,” “Hostas” or “Viburnums”? Consider periodicals such as Fine Gardening, Garden Design or Horticulture. Many garden sites and publications offer free weekly newsletters — “Garden Design,” “Savvy Gardening,” “National Gardening Association” and “Landscape Design.”