In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
December, 2003
Regional Report

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Ample parking, no crowds, knowledgeable sales people ... why shop anywhere else. Navlet's nursery in Pleasant Hill has everything from boots to hats!

Alternative for Holiday Madness

The holidays are screaming down on us again. How does that happen? I love the parties and the food but loath the added chores that Christmas heaps on me. I have a solution to the shopping problem: Instead of dragging yourself around the malls looking for a parking place and fighting the crowds, why not do your holiday gift shopping where the parking is plentiful, the air smells sweet, and the crowds are nonexistent? Sound like paradise? Not at all, my dears, it's your favorite garden center.

Garden Gift Ideas
Nurseries are stocked with fabulous gift items, and not only for the gardener on your shopping list. For wacky Aunt Penny who loves to watch wildlife through her window, there are a variety of beautiful feeders for every feathered or furred friend. Ornate glass hummingbird feeders, Yankee Flipper squirrel-proof bird feeders, suet baskets for woodpeckers, and perhaps even a bird bath or two.

If Uncle George would rather set his hair on fire than mow the lawn, how about getting him a robotic lawn mower? At $600, they are a bit pricey, but perhaps you could go in with the cousins. There are several Web sites that sell this amazing device on the Internet.

For your lady friends, nurseries these days stock all sorts of hand creams, oils, lotions, and balms to soothe even the most weathered epidermis. Even if you don't garden outside, lavender soap and refreshing cucumber lotion are a blessing for dry hands in the crisp winter air.

Gloves of every sort are available too. Rubber, waterproof, leather, cotton, even silly puppet gloves for the young people on your shopping list. I recently received a beautiful pair of Woman's Work gloves. They are almost too nice to wear outside, but you can bet that's where they're headed.

Wind chimes always make a wonderful gift, even for the most stubborn housebound couch potato. Perhaps the sound of the breeze moving through the chimes will awaken a hankering for fresh air.

Nursery Top Picks
Orchard Nursery in Lafayette has an extraordinary Christmas display, and they have garden demonstrations by local experts on the weekends. Their gift shop is incredible, featuring ornaments, garden art, and even entire decorated trees. I heartily recommend a visit before the season is over. Orchard Nursery is located at 400 Mt. Diablo, Lafayette, CA 94549. Phone them at (925) 284-4474.

Navlet's in Pleasant Hill is another nursery that puts on a fabulous holiday show, and their well-stocked garden center has everything from hats to boots. The knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer any questions. If colorful poinsettias or cyclamen are what you crave, Navlet's has the very best.

An orchid, an African violet, or a fresh green fern make lovely hostess gifts, but if you prefer something more seasonal, try Burlingame Garden Center on Chapell off El Camino. The florist shop in the nursery has a beautiful selection of wreaths, swags, and garlands -- everthing you need to make your season bright! Have a wonderful Christmas!


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