The Season of Giving is upon us. Although I prefer to spend some of my energy giving to people in need within our global community (Heifer International) or donating to causes that are important to me (Panthera.org), I also expend a great deal of energy on trying to find great gifts for each member of my family. I am an apple that did not fall far from the family tree so gardening-style gifts are a common theme from year to year. Here are a few that I have both given and received (or would like to receive!).
Tulip and Daffodil Bulbs from RoozenGaarde Flowers and Bulbs in the Skagit Valley- If you have ever taken in Washington’s Tulip Festival then you are familiar with RoozenGaarde. Acres upon acres of amazing tulips spread as far as the eye can see. Over 12 years ago, I started giving bulbs or cut flowers from this farm as special occasion gifts to members of my family. The quality of their bulbs are exceptional and very affordable. Typically, I like to order a mix of early, mid and late bloomers. I also like to mix daffodils in with the tulips to discourage bulb loss due to below-ground pests. Daffodil bulbs are poisonous and act as a natural deterrent to gophers, moles and voles. Bulbs are a great gift for mothers and grandmothers especially.
Fleece-lined work pants- Not a romantic gift but certainly an appropriate one for those gardeners in your life who love to get outside even if the weather is horrible. I received a pair from a family member several years ago and live in them during the late fall and early spring. Seriously, life in the garden would be miserable without them.
Arborist saws and high end pruners- These are the tools that one hardly ever buys for themselves. They can be pricey and one often wonders if the ease of use is worth the extra investment in capital. Without a doubt I can say that Yes, these tools are worth the extra cost. The blades are of high quality and are easy to sharpen. The grips are comfortable and ergonomic. And for avid gardeners, the materials are rugged enough to stand up to several seasons of hard use (and sometimes neglect).
Cured garlic braids- This one has become a hot commodity in our family. Nothing beats fresh, home-grown garlic! We send braids to our family members every year along with a care package of honey from the Tierra Garden hives, dried fruit and canned wild mushrooms. Depending on the year, we will throw in home-made jam or a package of home-grown dried beans. It is our way of sharing our life in the Pacific Northwest with those living far away.
Bird feeders and nesting boxes- Both of these have been gifts that my husband has made for family and friends throughout the years. Birds are important allies to our garden and watching them brings pleasure to everyone. Constructing nesting boxes is relatively easy if you are handy in the woodshop. A simple on-line search offers up plans, how-to instructions and guidance on hole sizes for the opening, depending on the birds you are looking to attract. Several years ago, this gift was inspired by the Pygmy owls that live above our house in the forest and that we sometimes spot in the tree outside our kitchen window. Included with the owl box was nesting material and a short story and photos about the Pygmy owl.
These are only a few ideas to get you started. Ultimately, your love and time are your greatest gifts. Give whole-heartedly this season and Happy Gardening!