In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
Delight gardening friends with interesting and quirky gifts and wraps.
'Tis the season, and gardeners can be surprisingly difficult to please. Forget the new garden hose -- that's the gift equivalent of a steam iron! Whether it's all the components of a bird-feeding station, or a single item like a large cart, good taste demands that you wrap all gifts. Huge and fairly attractive bags big enough to hold a bicycle are available, but get creative. Add a picnic basket to the cart, then wrap or drape it in a blanket or tablecloth. The message is clear: a nice picnic can be the reward for hauling that mulch in the new cart.
If you've forced narcissus bulbs this year, drop them into colorful tall buckets for gifting. Not only will every gardener appreciate a new bucket, but the added height will help keep flower stems from flopping out of their pots.
Choosing "With" or "For" a Friend
There's a big difference between choosing gifts for someone and enabling the giftee to make a personal choice for the garden. If you've seen a gardening friend's tools and know that a favorite shovel has a broken handle, get it fixed, cleaned, and sharpened. But if the broken tool was a piece of junk to begin with, give a better one.
Still better, take the friend to lunch and shopping for the best one available. The outing itself plus the perfect "fit" for the new tool can be a double-good gift. Just because you think a friend's unfocused garden could use a new huge angel statue or a gazebo doesn't guarantee a happy recipient. Certainly both are grand gifts, but only for the right gardener. Arrange for an onsite consult with a designer or architect. You may know more about materials, or have a superior installation crew, so let those be the gift and leave the decision-making to the one who will live with it.
Presents to one gardener can create glorious ripples across the community, and do not have to be expensive. Give gardening books in your friend's name to the library in hurricane-ravaged areas. Buy or extend a membership at the local botanic garden, nature center, or children's garden. Get a group of friends to agree to host an event honoring a great gardener, and invite a speaker or consultant no one could afford individually. Approach the local garden center about inviting your friend's plant society to set up a booth in his/her name at their spring open house. Or set up a Web site featuring your friend's garden. Take pictures on the sly, and surprise the best gardener you know -- online. In ways both big and small, 'tis the season to celebrate gardeners.
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