Growing Concerns: It’s the season for beautiful gardening gifts

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The garden is in bed whether we like it or not. The first snowfall has arrived and before we know it the holiday season will be here.

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Today I offer some gift suggestions for gardeners or those new to the world of gardening.

A little visit to the garden center offers great ideas. There are planters and pottery in every color of the rainbow and a ton of different sizes and materials. As gardeners, we like the largest pots we can get, which allows us to plant a lot of different plants in each.

New and different tropical plants are also a hit. Succulents and tropical flowering plants, for example, offer us a new challenge during the winter. Waxed amaryllis are something new and different. These bulbs don’t need a lot of watering or soil to make them bloom and make wonderful gifts for those who believe they can’t grow anything.

Botanical stationery, from calendars and planners to journals, stationery and even plant-themed playing cards inspiring us to dream big all winter long, makes a wonderful gift. For the more digitally savvy, online seller gift cards allow recipients to purchase or download garden books or subscribe to their favorite magazines.

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A cool gift I would like to receive is a garden themed puzzle. These would help to spend long hours during the winter and inspire us with ideas for next year’s garden. There are many available online and in garden stores.

How about thinking of the feathered friends visiting the garden? There are so many different birdhouses that will attract different birds to your garden. Purple swallow houses, for example, can attract a colony of these birds that eat their mosquito weight. Birdhouses are available as kits you assemble or pre-made and ready for painting and decorating – you can even match them to your home. Birds will enjoy protection from the elements while you enjoy more decoration in your garden.

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Speaking of houses, how about an insect house to encourage bees and other beneficial insects to spend time in your yard. Or bat houses that encourage bats to spend their days in dark, cool places and spend their nights eating unwanted garden pests?

Some of my favorite gifts are time or equipment gifts. A year ago a friend gave me an afternoon of using his truck to haul unwanted garden items and pick up a load of mulch. Another year a friend offered to help me dig and move plants after I broke my foot. I got to hang out with friends who understand my passion for the garden, we all learned a thing or two about each other and shared a lot of laughs, and the garden work was done.

And if you’re really stuck for a gift idea, no gardener will turn down a garden center gift card. There is always room for one more plant, a new piece of garden art or a tool. But above all, it is the thought that matters most.

Growing Concerns is produced by Parkway Gardens. Send your gardening questions to Homes, c / o The London Free Press, 210 Dundas St., Suite 201, London, Ont., N6A 5J3.

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