Whether you are looking for gifts for gardening friends and family for the holidays or for a birthday there are some gifts that will always be appreciated by the chaparral gardener. Gardeners love anything that will make their job more comfortable and fun. Most like something with an unusual twist so they can show it off. Here is a little list of some thoughts that make help you come up with ideas of your own for gifts.
For bigger budgets:
- Greenhouses large and small allow more year round growing, especially with the extreme temperatures of the chaparral.
- Big toys: mowers, edgers and other power tools make the big jobs easy.
- Solar panels and underground water storage tanks are ideal for the Eco-friendly gardener.
- Compost bins come in a number of sizes and shapes and make garden clean-up easier.
- Look for little solar powered gadgets like lights, pond aerators and pest deterrents that are solar powered for sustainable gardening.
- Buy a smart irrigation controller to save the bother of turning on and off systems and to help lower water bills in our dry chaparral summers.
For the imaginative:
- Miniature gardens allow creative gardeners to design and grow the smallest of spaces – even if they have no garden.
- Pond kits and fountains make wonderful decorations and add cool effects in hot months.
- Gadgets like electric digging tools, garden hose holders or power clippers can be fun and helpful.
- Herb gardens: most grow well in our full sun, hungry soil and warm temperatures.
The little stuff:
- Moo Poo tea is the latest way to organically feed indoor and outdoor plants organically.
- Books offer something on any subject a gardener could wish.
- Garden shoes keep feet from tracking in summer garden dust and winter mud.
Things you might not have considered:
- Look for artistic garden clothing or fun tee shirts.
- Consider a visit to one a public garden as a gift of relaxation and a chance to share and learn garden ideas that are perfect for the chaparral landscape.
- If you know your plants, offer the gift of a rare plant or interesting conversation piece.
The easy way:
- If in doubt, buy a gift certificate to your gardener’s favorite garden center, mail order catalog or website and let your friend or family member do the choosing.
- Hire a professional garden designer or garden consultant for the gift of a landscape/garden consult.
(Title to be sung to the original ‘Deck the Halls’ melody.)
While you find yourself cooking, entertaining, partying, shopping and occasionally getting over-wrought during the holiday times, your garden is not sitting around doing nothing. Here in the chaparral of Southern California, seeds are germinating with recent rains, leaves are falling, and California native plants are coming into active growth.
Don’t think of this as more work to be done, since the chaparral garden is not in any rush for attention. But do remember that physical work in the garden is an excellent way to work off stress and to burn off calories. So taking a break from holiday craziness to putter in the garden can be good for both you and your plants.
I just tore out my vegetable garden after over a decade. The time went painfully fast, but the carefully set block wall started to tilt, the soaker hoses and drip irrigation became too full of holes, and the over-zealous rats and mice found too many entry points and gobbled down more of my vegetables than I did.
With the cool temperatures and moistened soil, this has been a perfect time for transplanting and rebuilding. I’m trying out some new designs and ideas for discouraging the rodents. One reason I love gardening is that it keeps me thinking creatively. The wildlife all too often outsmarts me, but sometimes I get the upper hand. Experimentation always produces both knowledge and results, albeit the results aren’t always what I expect.
Working on my chaparral garden during the holiday season is not only much more comfortable without the hot sun and the dry, baked soil, but it has allowed me to splurge a little with holiday foods and not gain weight. I find I can think things through more clearly while working which allows me to address all my other projects in a much better state of mind. And getting my body tired out with garden labor helps me sleep well despite all the end-of-the-year things on my mind.
Now that I finished this little bit of writing, I’m going out to the garden to transplant some of those boysenberries I dug out around the vegetable garden. I’ll enjoy the sense of accomplishment, the cool sunshine, and the Deck the Halls Christmas melody going through my head reworded to: “ ‘Tis the season to be gardening, in the chaparral, the cha-par-ral!”
It used to be that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the best shopping days at the end of the year. But now, with the economy so unsettled, retailers are likely to extend many of those great prices right through the shopping season. Garden plants and supplies were once little touched by these sales. But the green industry has jumped into the sales arena too.
I’ve been surprised by how many online businesses — from seed and plant sellers to greenhouses and garden decor – have been offering special prices or free shipping on the Internet. Even garden centers and the big box stores have glittery holiday discount displays.
This is not only a great time to buy holiday gifts for friends and family, but it might be a useful time to snatch up some of those items you want for yourself. Also, if you have an office space that needs interior decor or a business connected with gardening, this may be the last chance to purchase a tax deductible business expense for the year. Look for any deals on some of the bigger items like pond kits, fountains, power tools, lawn mowers or snow blowers. Or maybe a good camera, a rain water storage tank or a new laptop can be a good investment during the best buys of the holiday period. Even a live Christmas tree to decorate an office space or room where the public or clients gather can become a legitimate tax deduction.
Check your favorite online garden shopping sites. Most will have a special section for the holidays. And don’t forget some of the smaller online sites and boutiques. You may not get the huge discounts of the larger retailers, but you are more likely to find treasures that are not available elsewhere — making them the best holiday gifts regardless of whether they are the best buys or not.
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