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Holiday Gifts for the Gardener

by Don Janssen, Extension Educator

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If there's a problem person to buy for on your holiday gift list, chances are he or she's not a gardener. You don't have to look far for gift ideas for people who like to grow plants.

If you don't know what a person's special interest is, you can't go too far wrong with a gift certificate to the local nursery or garden center. Then, whether the recipient needs seeds, vegetable plants, greenhouse supplies, gardening gloves, tools, landscape ornamentals, fertilizer, wild bird food and feeders, bedding plants or you-name-it, he can get just what he wants when he needs it.

If you know that someone likes irises or hosta or ornamental grasses or is thinking about getting into water gardening, leafing through the ads in a couple of gardening magazines will turn up specialty catalogs that you can send for. Tuck a gift certificate into a catalog and wrap it in a bit of paper and ribbon for a thoughtful gift.

The truly lucky shopper is the one who knows of a specific tool or book or plant that someone wants or needs. Maybe your brother-in-law has been borrowing your bulb planter for several years. You can approach this in a couple of ways -- either buy him the tool he's been borrowing or buy him something you want so the borrowing can run both ways!

Early winter isn't exactly prime planting time, so if your gift is to be a shrub or tree or favorite perennial, a gift certificate and a catalog with the item boldly circled or an IOU for a plant from your garden when it's time to divide and replant perennials may be the way to go.

A subscription to your favorite gardening magazine is another possibility, if you know the person isn't already a subscriber. Someone who's in the habit of buying from the same firms every year might enjoy a selection of catalogs from other companies.

If you have a small greenhouse, you could give a friend a reservation for greenhouse space or offer to start her tomatoes and peppers for her. An older gardener might greatly appreciate an IOU from you that he can redeem for garden tilling or a few hours of planting or weeding assistance. For an apartment-dwelling friend, you could give a "deed" to a certain amount of space in your garden in the coming growing season.

Cuttings from favorite plants, an attractive vase or decorative plant pot, packets of your favorite annuals from seed or a new squash variety - the list of possible gift ideas goes on and on. It could even include a gift of a trip to a special garden. Before you know it, you will be looking for more gardening friends to add to your Christmas list.

(This resource was added December 2004 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office