Last year, I wrote two relatively popular posts on gift ideas for new and intermediate-level gardeners and experienced gardeners. I stand by most of what I wrote, but I do have some updates that I wanted to add for accuracy and thoroughness.
In the article on gifts for less-experienced gardeners, I mentioned a publication I loved for many years, The Avant Gardener. Alas, the originator of this fine publication sold it to some folks who have turned into a glitzy on-line-only e-magazine that bears no resemblance to the original publication beyond its name. Instead of providing synopses of most of the horticulture-related publications along with up-to-the-minute information and occasional in-depth articles, this new incarnation resembles most of the other garden-related magazines that were already out there. Personally, I was gravely disappointed in what it became, so I no longer subscribe. I do not recommend it anymore.
I also recommended giving a publications-only gift membership to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, so that your newer gardener could read the wonderful handbooks this institution has published for decades. Alas, the costs of producing and printing these handbooks is no longer a priority of this institution. This membership type is no longer offered, so scratch this idea off your list.
I stand by my recommendations in the rest of the article and would like to add that gardening is always more fun — especially when you’re just starting out — if you have company to help with the hard labor parts, to offer ideas, and to admire your joint handiwork when you harvest your first vegetables or bring in the first bouquet of flowers picked from your own garden. I therefore encourage gift-providers to consider ways to provide newish gardeners with chances to hang out with like-minded enthusiasts via classes, garden coaches, garden clubs, or family and friends willing to share in the rewards of gardening.
I still stand by all of what I wrote about gifts for experienced gardeners, but I am adding one more gift-certificate-worthy nursery to my list: Meadowbrook Nursery. This nursery in the mountains of North Carolina sells a wide array of choice perennials, shrubs, and trees, including many of the wonderful spring ephemeral wildflowers native to this region. Any experienced gardener would happily ponder their offerings with a gift certificate in hand.
If you are a parent trying to find ways to encourage your children to be more active outdoors in a non-sport setting, consider buying them their own set of kid-sized gardening tools this season. Allow them to design their own spot of green, and help them realize their vision. Many studies have shown that a life-long connection to the natural world is best formed in childhood. What greater gift could anyone offer a child?
Happy holidays to all.