Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

 

I don’t usually write about holiday gift ideas, but I figure this year (being the unending grind that it’s been) calls for an exception. 

We can all use as much joy as we can get right now, so I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite ‘finds’ this year, in hopes they make you (or someone on your gift list) smile!

My husband gave me this Click and Grow last Christmas, and I’ll be honest – my first thought was ‘huh?’ 

I couldn’t figure out why he thought I’d need this, since 1) I have a pretty large garden where I can easily plant whatever I want, and 2) I’m pretty sure I’ve never expressed interest in a growing light!

I’m so glad I kept my bah-humbug thoughts to myself because after using it, I’m a huge fan. 

One reason I love this is the Click ‘n Grow makes it super simple for me to grow a few things in the house when I’m unable to garden outside. 

And as we all know, our green thumbs get a little twitchy starting in February when we’re counting the days we can go outside to garden again.

I also have a north-facing home, which means I have very few brightly lit windows that make growing anything from seed next to impossible. 

Whenever I’ve tried, the light-starved seedlings get lankier and lankier, finally collapsing into a sad little heap.  

The compact size of the Click and Grow, with low-profile grow lights, means it easily fits into smaller, darker spaces – like my mudroom, here in this pic.

And finally (and maybe most importantly,) it’s super easy to use, requiring very little from me.

I only need to refill the water every 3 or 4 weeks, and the lights are on a timer, so I just set it and forget it!

Included with my gift was a starter-seed kit with tomatoes and basil.  I knew the basil would do well (which it did – quickly growing, then tripling in size when I planted it in my garden once it warmed up), but the tomatoes were a surprise success, too. 

Bearing tiny tomatoes in their little pods, once I planted them in the garden, they continued to grow, giving me loads of tiny little flavor-bombs for several months. 

This year, I’m excited to plant a few seeds from plants that I can’t easily find in nurseries. 

One will be a double-feverfew that we discovered this summer in our Lake Tahoe garden, and the other will be seeds gathered from the most beautiful red poppies that were growing wild in a neighbor’s garden.

I’m going to try growing them in regular peat-pots that I have on hand.  They seem to fit fairly well in the unit so fingers crossed they’ll work.  

My daughter has since purchased a smaller Click and Grow for her apartment, and now she and her boyfriend are hooked.  

It’s the perfect set up for apartments and new gardeners. 

It not only fosters the garden-bug (which, as you may recall, is something I’ve tried to encourage for years – click here, and here, and here) but it also encourages cooking at home. A win-win, for sure!

I designed a garden for this artist many years ago, and we’ve since become good friends.    

No longer living in the Bay Area, she now lives in Washington’s Bainbridge Island, where her artistic talent has exploded.  She shows her work in various galleries in her area, as well as online here.

I have two of her paintings and just love them.  

You can see one of my paintings in this photo of my bookcase, in the middle of the top shelf.

Yes, I could’ve taken a close-up, but if you’re like me, it’s kind of fun to look inside someone else’s home (plus, I wanted to show you how perfect the smaller sized paintings fit into almost any space.)

I keep my other painting here, tucked in behind two of my favorite antique Toby Jugs.

Yes, they’re silly and a little weird (the jugs, not the paintings!) but I just love these guys!

Gigi’s artistic style, her subject matter (I love her crow series!) and the smaller sizes of the paintings all make for very meaningful gifts that anyone would love to receive!

As I’ve written about before, Foxgloves are some of my favorite pair of gloves, perfect for delicate tasks when you need to ‘feel’ what you’re doing. 

To refresh your memory, click here to read my review.

I wanted to mention them again, as they’re a fantastic gift for the gardener in your life.  Or you.  Or both.  😉

Plus, they’re super easy to ship, and they fit right into a Christmas stocking, too!

I’m a hand-lotion addict, with about a million various lotions placed throughout my house.  And I’m picky, too. 

No off-putting, sickly-sweet scents allowed, and if they’re the least bit sticky or oily, they’re outta here.

So I’m thrilled to tell you about one of my favorites, EO Lotions, which is not only reasonably priced but is organic, local, family-run, and made in a zero-waste company. WOW!

I first tried their lotion when my husband and I snuck away for a weekend in Mill Valley.  Our hotel carried their products in each room – such a wonderful surprise versus the typical sub-par hotel samples usually found in hotel rooms.

I’ve since tried several of their lotions, with the Lavender, Orange Blossom, and Grapefruit-Mint scents being my favorites of all. 

And just a few weeks ago, I discovered their lavender-scented hand sanitizer at our local Sprouts grocery store and loved it.  

Books 

Boy, has this been the perfect year for reading books, or what!  I’ve read so many garden books this year, but have pared my list down to my top 3 favorites:

I was so excited to read this book, as Wave Hill is one of my favorite public gardens EVER (click here to read about my 2016 visit)  

This isn’t just a coffee table book (though I must admit, it looks pretty great on my coffee table!), but is filled with inspirational photos from 26 different areas of the garden and the lessons learned along the way.  It’s the next best thing to visiting this world-renowned garden in person.

Whoa!  I bought this book at the list price of $40, and I see it’s now on sale for almost half at $25 – not sure how long that’ll last, but it’s a fantastic price!

Oh, how I wish I had this book when I was going through my year of chemotherapy.  Sick or not, however, it’s a sweet and touching story about the author’s intimate relationship with the common snail. After reading this book, trust me – you’ll think twice about callously killing them in your garden. 

This description says it best:

Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her encounter with a common woodland snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of her own place in the world. Intrigued by the snail’s molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, offering a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this under-appreciated small animal.

 

 

When designing gardens, creating unusual and engaging layers is a huge part of my process.  For me, it’s all about creating harmonious moments throughout the seasons, from the lowest layer to the tops of the trees. 

So after hearing David Culp give a presentation at this year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show, and hearing first-hand how funny, engaging, and informational he is, I just had to buy a copy for myself.  

In a nutshell, the author delves into the evolution of his jaw-dropping Pennsylvania garden, offering loads of inspiration for creating year-round layers in any size. 

No matter what part of the country you garden in, David’s garden illustrates design principles and ‘a-ha’ moments that are easy to comprehend, allowing you to implement them in your own garden. 

And last, but certainly not least, I wanted to mention this amazing non-profit organization: Random Acts of Flowers. 

It’s mission is to donate ‘gently used’ bouquets of flowers to people who need them most – those in healthcare facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. 

Random Acts of Flowers improves the emotional health and well-being of individuals in healthcare facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement, and personal moments of kindness.

Even though there may not be a location near you, it’s still easy enough to donate. 

Just click here, choose a location (Indiana, Tennessee, or Florida), and click the ‘donate’ button.

 

I hope I’ve given you a few gift ideas, either for yourself or others, and would love to hear from you – is there anything YOU’D recommend?  

Please share!

UPDATE…..

 

Several readers have mentioned  Wild Jules Seed Balls as a gift.  How have I never tried these before???   This is just one of the reasons I SO appreciate everyone’s comments – we all learn so much from each other.

One reader’s glowing review is enough to convince me to add them to my holiday list:

I’ve been using and gifting Wild Jules seed balls for years. What a great selection of California and western state wildflowers in an easy to plant package – the clay and compost seed ball! I’ve had great success with all the CA poppy and Milkweed varieties. I gift the locally endemic Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) seed balls mostly to help Monarch butterflies gain more habitat so that my grandchildren won’t have to see them only in a picture book!

Affiliate Links: Over the years, I’ve tried tons of garden-related products and only recommend those I truly believe in and those that have held up well in my garden.

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24 Comments

  • Rebecca,
    Happy Holidays to you and your family-hope to see you when life ever normalizes!!
    Loved that you highlighted Gigi work-I too have her beautiful gifts in my home. They bring such joy!! xo

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy – oh, how I wish I could walk through your garden with you…..something to look forward to next year (knock on wood!) I hope you and your family have fared well through this whole mess! Sending you lots of love xoxoxo

      Reply
  • Wonderful gift ideas Rebecca! And I truly appreciate you mentioning my paintings. I’m happy that you are enjoying them–they look wonderful in your home.
    Thinking of you!
    Gigi

    Reply
    • It’s my pleasure, Gigi – I LOVE your paintings and smile every time I look at them. 🙂

      Reply
  • My son was just asking me about everyone’s Christmas list; these are great items to add to them! And winter is such a pleasant time to sit down with a good book, be inspired, and enjoy the beauty of plants.

    Reply
    • I agree, Kristin, and I have a pile of books sitting on my table, waiting for me to get out of the garden and read them! I’m taking advantage of our warmer weather to finish last minute fall tasks, but can’t wait for the rain to finally catch up!

      Reply
  • So happy to hear your recommendation for the Snail book. It was suggested at our Book Group and I thought “What is this?”
    It is one of the best books we’ve read, Very touching! So glad you recommended it💕

    And…. I love all your suggestions.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Gloria – I just love this little book and am so glad your book club read it, too!

      Reply
  • Thanks for the suggestions. I love Foxgloves and have purchased two different styles since reading about them in an earlier blog of yours. I’m rough on gloves and go through them quite frequently but so far Foxgloves have passed the Christie test! Love how easily they rinse out between muddy uses too.

    Reply
    • I agree with you, Christie – if gloves pass the ‘Rebecca Test’, then they’ve made the recommendation list! I’m glad you’re enjoying them as much as I do.

      Reply
  • A unique gift and stocking stuffer for Western states are Wild Jules – Native Wildflower Seed Balls by single variety. A completely self-contained method of cultivation. Perfect for all levels of gardeners. We want to help encourage folks to successfully grow native plants by making it as easy as possible. They are sweetly packaged, nurturing smiles!

    Reply
    • These look wonderful, Julie, thanks for sharing them with us!!! Thinking I’ll have to add them to my post later tonight. 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you, Rebecca! This is the time to set seed balls out – late fall through early spring. Native seed is “woken up” with cold temps and precipitation (hopefully soon).

        Reply
    • I’ve been using and gifting Wild Jules seed balls for years. What a great selection of California and western state wildflowers in an easy to plant package – the clay and compost seed ball! I’ve had great success with all the CA poppy and Milkweed varieties. I gift the locally endemic Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) seed balls mostly to help Monarch butterflies gain more habitat so that my grandchildren won’t have to see them only in a picture book!

      Reply
      • I love this, Christie – these seed balls are new to me and I’d love to add them to my list. May I use your recommendation as the description – it’s perfect! 🙂

        Reply
  • I bought the foxgloves last year per your suggestion. I love them. I never owned grow lights before maybe these would be a good starter unit.

    Take care,

    Joanna

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you like your Foxgloves, Joanna – I love mine (I have the texting ones, too, besides two other pairs.) I never thought I’d like the grow lights, but was proven wrong by my husband – ha. I love mine and can’t wait to plant my new little seeds. I’m seeing a whole new use for my mudroom…..

      Reply
  • Oh I love the idea behind The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating and any lesson that brings greater appreciation for other living things we share our planet with! I do remove snails from my garden (they are of course the non-native Brown Garden snail) by collecting them and putting them in a brown paper bag in the covered greenwaste bin. I figure they will have some foraging before their final fate at the composting facility!! Other gifts that one might consider are wildflower scatter seeds, appropriate for one’s area, and….some of your books!!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your suggestions, Ronnie! it seems Jules (above) has the same idea with her ‘Wild Jules – Native Wildflower Seed Balls’ – I love it and am heading over now to check them out. 🙂

      Reply
  • These all look like great gift ideas, even if only for myself. I was delighted to see the EO lotion. I’ve not used that but I’ve used their liquid hand soap and shampoo and been pleased. I’m behind on all my blog reading and have several of yours queued up, waiting for a quiet moment, if such a thing exists any more, or the need for escape into a wonderful world. All the best to you this holiday season.

    Reply
    • So nice to hear from you, Barbara, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the EO shampoo – I’m definitely going to try that next time I go to Sprouts! Hoping you find a few quiet moments so you can catch up on your reading, I need to do the same – good luck with that, right? 😉

      Reply

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