As temperatures plummet and snow covers the landscape, garden season may seem ages away—unless you’re lucky to live in a warm zone! Most gardeners start counting the days until spring as soon as the first frost hits, hoarding seed catalogs and dog-earing interesting landscape designs in their favorite books and magazines. Even if the weather outside is frightful, gardening still occupies minds. Whether you’re shopping for the perfect gift for the gardener in your life—or you’re the gardener, who’d prefer a practical garden gift under the tree instead of another necktie or tchotchke–we’ve compiled a list of great garden gift ideas sure to make any gardener giddy with delight! We polled garden friends around the world—both professional and home gardeners—and here’s what they’re wishing for this season:
While it might seem impersonal, gift cards ranked as the top wish-list item among gardeners. Whether it’s a gift certificate to a local nursery or an online retailer that carries unique, interesting plants, gardeners love gift cards. Really. They won’t think you’re a lazy gift giver, we promise. In fact, we’re pretty sure you’ll win the gifting game this year if you present your favorite gardener with a gift card to one of the many retailers that carry Rozanne and Friends plants, like White Flower Farm, Plant Delights Nursery, or Bluestone Perennials. You can find a list of retailers that carry our plants here.
Also, think outside the box for gift card ideas. GardenComm: Garden Communicators International President Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp suggests gift certificates for a trip to a public garden. Many public gardens also offer winter lights displays, plus an hour inside a warm, plant-filled conservatory does wonders for winter-weary gardeners’ psyches.
Along with gift certificates for destinations, Helen Battersby of TorontoGardens.com suggests a coupon offering “Willing hands in spring and/or fall for those big, one-time seasonal jobs—plus, this gift could be free!” (Wouldn’t we all love an extra pair of hands in the garden?)
Stylish containers ranked high on gardeners’ lists. When it’s cold outside, an empty container gives a gardener a creative diversion: what will that pretty pot look like when filled to the brim with plants in the spring? It presents the recipient with a fun winter project–looking for a location, sketching a design, and making a plant list to create the ultimate container garden when the weather warms.
With so many container options, you’ll find plenty of choices—from lightweight, portable pots to high-end ceramic containers. Consider choosing a container that’s freeze-resistant to avoid winter damage, or make your favorite gardener’s life easier by gifting a self-watering version, like the TruDrop System by Crescent Garden.
If the gardener in your life ranked high on the “nice” list, add some smaller gifts to the empty container. A gift card, for instance, to fill the pot with spring-blooming Rozanne and Friends plants will be a hit! Add in a pair of flexible nitrile gardening gloves, good hand cream, and high-quality sunscreen for a perfect garden gift container.
Interesting, rare, unique seeds make gardeners giddy, according to the responses to our survey. Whether they’re heirloom vegetable seeds saved from your own garden or a fancy collection of favorite flower seeds, gardeners love the promise a pack of seeds holds, reaffirming that spring is only a few months away.
Many seeds need to be started while it’s still cold outside. If your budget allows, a grow light station makes an extra-special gift. Not only are you gifting your gardener a pack of seeds—you’re giving the pleasure of a jump-start on the growing season with indoor grow lights. There’s nothing nicer than indoor gardening while the winter weather rages outside.
The number one tool coveted by gardeners is a Hori Hori knife.
The multi-purpose knife digs, weeds, cuts, creates rows for seeding…it’s a perfect, practical gift any gardener will adore. Dana Zucker, owner of the destination farm Sugar Water Manor, said, “I literally carry it with me everywhere. It digs, cuts, holds cherry tomatoes and eggs…I love it!”
Gardeners also crave high-quality tools that last. A great trowel and the perfect pair of snips topped wish-lists, along with a great garden tub for hauling soil, compost, or debris. High quality, easy-to-use weeding tools are always a hit with gardeners.
Gardeners really DO want garden books as gifts—we promise! In fact, Christina Salwitz, owner of The Personal Garden Coach, says “No one will buy me the garden books on my wish list, because THEY think it’s boring. I think they’re FUN, though!”
With thousands of gardening books to choose from, where do you begin?
- For flower lovers, check out Erin Benzakein’s Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden. (The gorgeous photography will make your gardener forget the snow and cold outside.)
- For great landscape design ideas, The Layered Garden by David L. Culp offers terrific tips for creating continuous interest in the garden.
- The vegetable gardeners in your life will love Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening by Matt Mattus. He includes rare and unique varieties for fabulous garden-to-table meals.
- Indoor plant lovers will appreciate Lisa Eldred Steinkopf’s book on Houseplants.
- And, because almost all gardeners agonize over deer nibbling on their plants, Karen Chapman’s new book, Deer-Resistant Design gives tips for creating gardens deer avoid.
Plants (of course!)
While it’s a little chilly to gift your gardener outdoor perennials, an indoor plant cheers dark winter days. Whether it’s a traditional holiday-themed flower, like amaryllis, or a trendy succulent container or houseplant, a burst of green always brightens a gardener’s mood. “Plants that bloom indoors in winter, like jasmine, are always good for those who live up north,” says Teresa O’Connor, California Communications and Outreach Manager at American Farmland Trust.
For a personal touch, gift your gardener a pass-along plant! Eunice Lehmac, a gardener in South Carolina, says, “A plant from their yard in a nice pot and well labeled with the color of the flower, if appropriate, along with whether it needs sun, and how to plant” makes a great gift.
Marcie Yon, a former nursery owner, agrees: “Almost all of my plants have stories of the person who gave them to me.” Plants with stories are favorites among gardeners.
Good Dirt. Really.
Finally, for the perfectly practical gardener, deliver a truckload of superb soil. When a gardener tells you that they’d like nothing more than a load of dirt, they’re serious. Raised beds settle and need to be refreshed. Gardeners in the south that battle red clay need good soil to grow their favorite plants. Soil, compost, leaf mold—we promise, if a gardener asks for something dirty for a present, you can be sure it will be a hit—especially if you add a few hours of your time to help spread the love in the garden.
After all, that’s the best gift of all—spending time with your favorite gardener. It’s a gift that benefits you both.
For more gardening inspiration, be sure to join Rozanne’s Inner Circle!