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Seattle Fling 2011

Garden bloggers meet in Seattle in 2011

Gifts for the Gardener

My gift shopping schedule fell to pieces when ice began falling out of the sky last week. But there is still time for the last minute shopping that any of us have to do.

I’m a gardener and I love presents so I don’t think it is hard to shop for a gardener. It’s not that we are greedy, it’s just that there are always new gadgets and equipment to try. Gloves, boots and clogs wear out and need to be replaced. Aching bones need to be soothed in a bubble bath and hands smoothed with creams.

I stopped at the Shelburne Farm and Garden Center on Route 2 and saw that they are once again selling LED (light emitting diode) Christmas lights for $30. I stocked up on these last year as part of my energy saving efforts. LED lights use a fraction of the energy used by regular lights. I have white snowflake LED lights that have a slight bluish cast for the windows, and colored tree lights that almost look like gumdrops on the tree.

Because we gardeners love birds that keep our environment in balance, the SF&GC has lots of bird feeders, big ones and little ones, from $5 to $80. They have net thistle sock feeders or $4 and special oriole food for $3. I had no idea that orioles liked feeders and food similar to hummingbirds. A trip to the store is educational.

In addition there are big sacks of all kinds of seed mixes costing about $35 as well as suet cakes in various sizes, with blueberries, or peanuts, or sunflower hearts. Costs vary from $3 to $10. Suet is an important part of a bird’s winter diet.

Then I was off to the Greenfield Farmers Co-op Exchange on High Street. They also have LED Christmas lights. Everyone wants to save energy, and money, wherever they can.

When I was having so much trouble with my hip (before replacement surgery) I became aware of the benefits of tools with extendable handles. Corona makes a family of such tools with steel handles that extend from 18 to 32 inches. There is a small rake, a hoe/cultivator and a trowel, each costing about $12. Corona also makes a sturdy 24 inch bypass pruner for $30.

I like Corona tools because in addition to their good quality they have bright red handles. I don’t know about you, but I have spent any number of hours looking for tools I’ve forgotten in the grass or in the flower bed. Of course, I have a friend who had the same problem and he wrapped all his tool handles in orange fluorescent tape. Maybe a roll of bright tape could be stuffed in a stocking to brighten up favorite old tools.

Harvesting vegetables can be a dirty business. Pike’s Original Maine Garden Hod is a wood and heavy coated wire ‘basket’ that allows the gardener to give vegetables a good wash with a hose before bringing them into the kitchen. A small one (about 8 by 16 inches) is $35 and a larger one (about 10 by 20 inches) is $40.

I stopped at GreenFields Market and found a whole garden in the skin care department. Avalon Organics lavender bath and shower get or lotion are both just under $19 for 32 ounces. One With Nature Triple Milled Rose Petal Soap is made with Dead Sea salt and shea butter. One bar is $3.69. Triple milling means a bar will last a lot longer than a bar of Dial.

Wise Ways Herbals Rose Garden body powder does not contain talc, and costs $6. Favorite fragrances for these toiletries seem to be rose, rosemary, lavender, orange and lemon, scents that sooth or invigorate. Naturally I always go for the rosy fragrances.

We gardeners know how to get dirty, and scratched, but we can enjoy a fragrant cleaning up process.

Gardeners need bowls and vases. The Shelburne Artists Cooperative on Bridge Street has beautiful wooden bowls made by Deb Lively, ranging in price from $200 to $900. Filled with fruit or vegetables they’d make a creative centerpiece.

In addition there are simple or stunning blown glass vases by Tucker Litchfield, Leslie Kearsley and Keith Cerone. Prices range from $20 to $500.

You can give a gardener, or a non-gardener, a plant. A brilliant poinsettia or cyclamen will brighten the holidays for anyone, whether or not they are interested in trying to carry over til next Christmas. At Plants for Pleasure on Bridge Street in Shelburne you can buy poinsettias ranging in price from $8 to $42, peace lillies from $4 to $25, Norfolk Island pines from $6 to $45, or gorgeous little mini-vases blown by Michael Armstrong.

Not all gifts are found in a shop with a price tag. We can always give the gift of love and labor in the garden. What about a promissory note for 2 hours of weeding, or lawn mowing or any directed labor? Or the promise of a perennial division? An afternoon of steamy jelly making?

Any gift we choose is really a wish for the recipient’s happiness and well being. I wish you happy and well throughout this whole holiday season.

December 20, 2008

2 comments to Gifts for the Gardener

  • Hi Pat, all those are wonderful gifts and good for you spreading the wealth locally too. I am in the process of switching over to the led lights, can’t do it all at once, but am in favor of them. I saw a Helleborus niger at the grocer’s and it jumped into my cart. I was amazed to see it among the kalanchoes and potted bulbs. Thanks for your story below to remind me that the H. orientalis, that I have by the millions thanks to babies, is not the only hellebore!
    Frances

  • Glenda

    I was so fed up paying the high electric bills, I decided to try out LED lights. I bought the LED lights to replace my old bulbs – CFL and incandescent – and guess what – my electric bills did drop a lot! I also found a great site to buy the LEDs called LEDinsider.com that I would recommend enthusiastically.. They had good service (good phone and email support), great FAQs so I knew what I needed, and competitive prices; also, their shipping was fast and the LEDs were as good as advertised. http://www.LEDInsider.com. Very good online shopping experience

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