Consider gardening gifts for the holidays
Vegetables are easily grown in a backyard raised garden kit. (Courtesy Home Depot/MCT)
"Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way" depicts organic gardening yesterday and today. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg/MCT)
A bubbling fountain soothes a gardener after a long day outdoors. (Courtesy Home Depot/MCT)
The Presto bucket can be used for many things. (Courtesy Norfolk Botanical Garden/www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org/MCT)
Glass bird baths are as pretty as they are practical. (Courtesy Kathy Van Mullekom/MCT)
The smart AutoFeeder allows timed dispensings. (Courtesy Wingscapes/MCT)
"The Earthbound Cook" covers healthy cooking. (Courtesy Virginia Living Museum/www.thevlm.org/MCT)
"Shamanic Gardening" is all about sustainable possibilities. (Courtesy Melinda Joy Miller/MCT)
Colorful tools entice kids to try their hand at gardening. (Courtesy Nature Hills/MCT)
Flowers of any kind look like living art in a hand-blown Phoenician vase. (Courtesy Ten Thousand Villages/MCT)
Birds will flock to a friendly gazebo-style feeder. (Courtesy Lowe's/MCT)
Miniature landscapes depict life on a smaller fun-filled scale. (Courtesy LandscapesInMiniature.com/MCT)
Stuff stockings and guest baskets with Cole's bird feed. (Courtesy Cole's wild bird feed/MCT)
Organic Gardening magazine features articles for all types of aspiring gardeners. (Courtesy Organic Gardening/MCT)
You’re making your gift list and checking it twice, and discover there’s a gardener that Santa needs to remember.
Fret not. Gardeners are, by far, the easiest people to please because there are so many gifts that appeal to their appreciation for all things natural and nice.
For a trendy and timely treat, check out terrariums, which are surging in popularity again. These small gardens under glass are part of the landscapes in a miniature craze that includes the look of fairy gardens with to-scale gnomes, elves and Tinkerbell-like girls with angelic faces and wispy wings. You’ll find them at garden centers nationwide and numerous online sites.
“These fantasy scenes done as dish gardens or terrariums showcase how fairy tales do come true,” says miniature landscapes designer Pam Shank of Landscapes in Miniature, or www.landscapesinminiature.com, outside Harrisonburg, Va.
Cut-Flower Garden Kit. Everything you need to grow gorgeous fresh-cut flowers, including 95-page, full-color “The Easy Cut-Flower Garden” book by Lisa Mason Ziegler, a flower farmer in southeastern Virginia, and five packs of cut-flower seeds — giant, mixed-color zinnias, cockscomb, plume celosia, green-centered sunflowers and fragrant basil bouquet filler. $29.95 with free shipping; The Gardener’s Workshop at www.shoptgw.com or 888-977-7159
Note: You’ll find similar heirloom collections and individual seed packs for gift baskets (add gloves, trowel and tips) through Renee’s Garden at www.reneesgarden.com and Select Seeds at www.selectseeds.com.
Floral Heirloom Ornaments. McDonald Garden Center’s heirloom ornament collection features the flowers of Christmas — cyclamen, hydrangea, citrus, hellebore, orchid and poinsettia, giving your tree a garden look. $19 at www.mcdonaldgardencenter.com.
Phoenician Vase. Tuck fresh-cut flowers from your garden or a small candle into this swirling-color Phoenician Coast vase that’s hand blown by artisans of Herbron Glass and Ceramic Factory, a West Bank-family business founded in 1890. Vase 8 inches tall. $68, Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer that sells products to help support artisans in developing countries, at www.tenthousandvillages.com and its stores nationwide.
Grow What You Eat. Create a year-round vegetable/herb garden in a convenient 4-by-4-foot dovetail cedar raised garden kit. To assemble, simply slide the boards by hand into the corner joints and secure the garden frame. Set the frame on any level outdoor space (think patio, too), add soil/compost mix and plants or seeds and grow your good health. $39.97 at Home Depot and www.homedepot.com.
Great Gazebo. Birds of all kinds will flock to this Earth-friendly gazebo bird feeder, constructed of recycled post-consumer plastic and wood. It’s easy to fill and simple to clean with soapy water so birds dine in a safe environment. $9.97 at Lowe’s stores and www.lowes.com.
Pop-up Presto Bucket. It stores flat, opens into a 2.9 gallon bucket and comes with its own carrying case. The lightweight, watertight bucket can be used for many purposes — weeding, washing car, picking fruit, collecting shells and toting small small toys. $16.95-$23 in yellow, blue, red or orange at www.TrueBlueGloves.com and www.amazon.com.
“The Earthbound Cook” helps you discover “eating greens never tasted so good,” says author Myra Goodman. The cookbook features 250 recipes for healthy cooking and using all that good produce you grow or get at any farmers market. It helps you define organic, decide between farmed and wild salmon, learn about grass-fed beef and cage-free chicken and helps you decode the labels on poultry and eggs. Vegetarian recipes included. $15 at www.amazon.com.
Bathing Beauties. Attract birds and give them a pleasant place to drink with a glass bird bath. The curved bowl of these designs allows birds to wade in to whatever depth of water is best for them. Clean with mild soap and water, and display on a low or tall stand of your choice. Bowls also make a pretty tabletop centerpiece. $28, not including stand. Collegiate, bird, floral and stained-glass designs available at www.homedepot.com, www.birdbaths.com and www.wayfair.com.
Stocking Stuffers. Bird lovers will appreciate stockings, gift baskets or bags you create, stuff and give, each filled with bags of Cole’s all-natural bird feed. For birders plagued by hungry squirrels, choose “hot meats” blends that birds love and squirrels hate. Woodpeckers love the pecans in the “special feeder” blend, while the “nutberry suet blend” brings bluebirds, warblers, robins, woodpeckers and more. $12.49-$20.49 at www.coleswildbird.com or 877-426-8882 for retail and online outlets.
Smart Birdfeeder. The AutoFeeder enables you to determine how much seed to offer and when to dispense the seed, meaning you can “train” birds to feed when you are home and can watch them. The feeder can be programmed to dispense seed up to four specific times each day. It’s powered by four AA batteries, which will last for up to 9 months, and can hold one gallon of bird seed. A squirrel-resistant baffle protects the seed from hungry four-legged thieves. $130 by Wingscapes at www.wingscapes.com (use coupon code Auto2FreeShip for free shipping through Dec. 31.)
Get Kids into Gardening. Foster a child’s love of nature with a colorful collection of gardening tools. This set of five child-size quality tools includes a trowel, mini-rake, mini-planting shovel, gardening apron and gloves; everything is non-toxic, suitable for ages 3 and up. $47.99 from Nature Hills at www.naturehills.com or 888-864-7663.
Sustain the Earth. The new book “Shamanic Gardening” gives you timeless techniques for the modern sustainable garden, including edibles, healing herbs, flower essences and colors. Why the book name? A shaman is one who walks in two words, one seen easily by everyone, another with the senses of the heart, deep recesses of the mind and within the collective spiritual consciousness, according to author Melinda Joy Miller, a feng shui master, cultural anthropologist and integrative therapist. $13 at www.amazon.com.
Bird Beneficial. Have your coffee and help save the birds with Birds & Beans Coffee, a gift that supports organic, shade-grown coffee farms that give shelter and sustenance to more than 60 species of migratory birds. $11.70 and up through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Gifts at www.birds.cornell.edu/birdgifts.
Organic Gardening. To help yourself or an aspiring gardener learn more about Mother Earth and how to protect her, get a two-year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine. $23.94 for 12 issues, published bi-monthly at http://organicgardening.com.
Williamsburg Way. Historic gardener Wesley Greene shares his 30 years of edible gardening experience in the new “Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way.” He entertains you with folklore along with practical advice on growing and using vegetables, herbs, garden tools and practical methods, which are organic because that’s the way colonists gardened. 256 pages with 300 full-color photographs. $30 at www.williamsburgmarketplace.com.
Fine Fountain. Bubbling like a natural spring, this outdoor remote-controlled solar floor fountain features a low-profile design with a natural cut stone texture. It runs on solar power but also comes with a rechargeable battery pack for use at night. $109-$249 through Home Depot at www.homedepot.com.