Home & Garden: Great gifts for gardeners
Janice Leach | Contributor
For some people, the expectation of gift-giving or gift-receiving is something expensive, or fancy, indulgent.
In our family, we like best to give gifts that are perfect for the receiver. What makes a “perfect” gift? We generally agree that it has to do with giving a person something that she may not even be aware that she needs or wants, something that’s just right for a particular person. Granted, one has to know the intended gift recipient really well and sometimes do some research to find a gift that fits in that category, but we think that’s a worthwhile effort.
If you are in or near to celebrating a gift-giving holiday or thinking ahead for other holidays or birthdays, here are some suggestions to consider for the gardeners on your list.
Most gardeners will especially appreciate an ecologically minded gift that helps with garden growth and maintenance.
For a beginning gardener, a compost bin or a compost tumbler can be very useful, but even those who’ve gardened for a long time could have need of another bin. Compost tumblers are available from the Washtenaw County Conservation District as reported by Nancy Stone on Annarbor.com and also from local stores and online. Downtown Home and Garden carries a nice range of designs of bins and tumblers.
A kitchen compost bucket for holding scraps on their way to the compost bin outside can also be a handy gift. Our favorite is a stainless steel bucket with handle and a lid, but, again, many different styles are available.
Another practical gift for gardeners is a rain barrel, which can be purchased from the Washtenaw County Conservation District or local garden stores. Offering to install or help with installation can also be part of the gift.
Want to give a gift that will really surprise? The promise of a load of compost or manure come spring could be just what a gardener needs. Make a certificate to let the gardener know that a load of gardening food will arrive at the earliest convenient date.
If you’re stuck, the “get out of jail free” card is the gift card or gift certificate. Shoppers who are baffled can purchase a gift card from just about every store — so pick your gardener’s favorite place to browse and shore. A gift card to a garden center or a local nursery will allow the gardener to make those difficult purchasing decisions for himself.
If a giver is feeling particularly generous, however, he might make a gift certificate that includes, as least in part, a gift of his own time and energy. If offered, many gardeners would welcome some assistance in their garden, with spring clean up, moving soil or compost, planting, weeding or harvesting. We love our gardens — why else would we put this much effort into them? — but still would love the company and labor of a helper.
Another idea is to give a gardener “vacation coverage.” A decade back, I enjoyed our three-week excursion to the west even more knowing that a friend was monitoring the rainfall, discouraging the weeds, and picking the ripening vegetables and berries in our absence.
In all, finding the perfect gift for a gardener — or anyone, for that matter — requires paying attention to that person. Asking pointed questions around the holidays can give away one’s intentions, but there’s no need to wait until the holidays to “research” a recipient’s needs or wants. A gift that shows interest and care, originality and insight is always in season.
Janice and Jim Leach garden a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor and tend the website 20 Minute Garden.