The holidays are here. I stand at Urban Outfitters shifting my weight while perusing sweaters for my nephews. Blue? Grey? Then suddenly the music makes me think I’m in North Korea. Bah-bye.
Then there’s my mother-in-law who mostly likes cash. Cashmere, a robe, gloves—not so much!
Unable to top (and for that matter, afford) last year’s Fender guitar, I consider instead another flannel shirt for the husband. But aren’t the five plaid ones already crammed into the Mini Cooper-sized closet enough?
So for me when it comes to gardeners, they are just the easiest to shop for at the holidays. Whether a Janice Chen scissors to stuff in a stocking, Wellies to slip your decidedly non-Cinderella feet into, or a birdhouse built without sub-contractors and overrruns, I’m inspired by choices both practical and fanciful. Some ideas to tempt you.
Here Comes Santa Claus: Seed packets are great for stocking stuffers for family, waitresses, teachers. Give them out to the children for the eight days of Chanukah (prices range from $1.49-$5 at Whole Foods; Armstrong Garden Center). In a basket, bundle MUD h2O great grip gloves in a variety of cool colors ($7.50 Sheridan Gardens) with the Cavallini Flora & Fauna Journal ($12 Paper Source), German-made Pedag brush that scrubs away under-nail grime. ($4.57 at amazon.com) and a tube of Tokyo Milk hand cream (at Scentsabilities, $12).
Durable and no-nonsense, the Moleskin Gardening Journal is great for a male or female gardener ($20, Portrait of a Bookstore).
For someone big on ideas but has trouble executing (that would be me!), try the online garden planner. You fill in your location, yard dimensions, and plant preferences and it helps you plot out a garden design. It’s free for 30 days, then $25 a year for subscription http://gardenplanner.territorialseed.com/gardenplanner/gardenplanner.html#
Deck the Halls: Front door mats, garden stakes, butterfly houses, succulent planters, and the cutest garden gnomes ($25-$50 Sheridan Gardens Nursery, Burbank.)
Hang a Shining Star upon the highest bough: Glass hand-made wind chimes (Emerald Forest); a red-painted Woodshed outdoor birdhouse that combines form and function when perched on high tree limb ($49.00 at www.gardenartisans.us/). Sweet as it is nourishing, the pot de creme hummingbird feeder comes in clear or colored handblown glasss and will be used like crazy this winter by these little garden visitors. ($29.99 bestnest.com)
Hoe Hoe Hoe and more: The classic DeWit Tulip Trowel boasts sturdy design with the promise of becoming a much-handled keepsake ($39.95 at www.gardentoolcompany.com); another great tool is the katate kuwa combination hoe (33.95 Sears, Home Depot); who wouldn’t be delighted with the pretty russian flower watering can (32.99 Bed Bath and Beyond); and to keep the soil in optimum shape, try California’s own Haven Manure Tea Gift Pack, stylishly wrapped gift assortment of cow manure, horse manure, and alfalfa natural teas ($25-$50).
All I want for Christmas...or Chanukah: Three of this year’s new crop of gardening books: The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage (Timber Press, 2012) a how-to on layering a hillside with bands of color, plus expert design tips for border plants, vegetables and year-round rose beds. (Portrait of a Bookstore); The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden (Timber Press, 2012); California Native Plants for the Garden from native plant experts Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O' Brien features more than 500 of the best California native plants for gardening in our climate with 450 color photos, available at L.A.’s Theodore Payne Nursery http://store.theodorepayne.org/product/BAC/B_CNPG.html.
All dance the hora! We want them! And yes we can have them in as many colors and prints as you can imagine-- those fashionable, durable rubber Wellington boots. Available at Verona Shoes (4350 Tujunga) or from UK’s Evercreatures at Funky Wellington Boots (order now, you’ll get them by Christmas. http://www.funky-wellington-boots.co.uk/ ($51.00 approximate U.S. dollars; $31 shipping).
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas:
Try giving a fun challenge to your gardening nut—the 12-pouch vertical wall pocket made of felt or wool, which is perfect for sedum and baby cacti ($98 Plantsonwalls.com; for those who love the little bees, try the honeybee teak house (64.95 gardeners.com); or for significant others who prefer a little bling, you’ll find lovely vintage, one-of-a-kind flower necklaces, pins, rings and earrings at Swag. Also, (love them!) the one-of a-kind Guy Wolff hand-thrown garden pots (10” Tuscan is $90; 9” Tuscan is $56 at heavensgatehomeandgarden.com); and what cottage gardener can resist the keepsake Haws copper English garden watering can created by Englishman John Haws in 1886 ($85.99 at K-Mart and Sears).
If you’re willing to skip the gift wrap, consider the wrought-iron outdoor chandelier, life-size garden angels, or toothy gargoyle statuary available at A State of Mind or a fabulous fountain from Garden Temple (prices vary, both on Ventura Blvd.).