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Gardening Gifts for 2012

Consider buying gifts locally and those made in America. About 52% of revenue from locally owned retail stores remain in the community compared with 14% of that from chains.

Handcrafted gifts from the garden are much appreciated, such as herbal vinegars and hand-painted gourd birdhouses. Create a spa gift basket with items from the garden, such as luffas, dried flowers and herbs.

The 2013 Baer’s Agricultural Almanac and Gardener’s Guide edited by Linda L. Weidman of John Baer’s Sons remains one of the most useful and must-have gardening gifts around. Its affordable price makes it even more desirable. The best gift of all is a five-year subscription, which minimizes your holiday shopping for years to come. For an in-depth review, please see my article on holiday gift books for 2012.

For stocking stuffers and gardening gifts, it is hard to beat Galison’s line of garden note cards. They have a wide assortment to suit every taste and need from classic garden paintings of Van Gogh and Monet to exquisite whimsical designs by top designers. I especially recommend Galison’s Keepsake Box cards, which includes the Van Gogh Floral Collection. For more recommended Galison products see the article on All-occasion Gifts.

For the latest outstanding varieties of flowers, vegetables, and herb seeds, give Renee’s Garden seeds. For new gardeners, choices include Renee’s Easy to Grow Seed Collections, including Container Kitchen Garden and A Rainbow Kitchen Garden. These contain five seed packs. Seeds for a Hummingbird Garden and Seeds for a Butterfly Garden are ideal for those gardeners with pollinator gardens.

Based on my own experience during the last growing season, I also recommend a number of varieties from Harris Seeds. I trialed a number of Harris varieties during 2012. The Solar Chocolate Gold sunflower is simply delightful. This space-saving variety is only two feet tall and 1½ feet across. The vibrant deep red pollen-free blooms, which mature to a dark rose, make a great cut flower.

I also trialed Cosmos Rubenza, which is about the same size as the sunflower. Blooming freely all season, Rubenza brought lovely reliable color to my flower beds and planters.

I also recommend the following Harris varieties. Manny cucumber and the bushy Cheetah squash are prolific and disease resistant. My Red Satin hybrid radish did extremely well considering our spring was warmer than usual.

For an unusually beautiful gift, consider Olde English witchballs by Kitras Art Glass. Popular for centuries in England, these are exquisitely crafted hollow glass spheres. Nowadays, these have nothing whatsoever to do with their namesake.

One of the latest garden trends is terrariums. Give that gardener a Sedum or Moss Terrarium Garden Kit made by Potting Shed Creation. The container is a repurposed wine bottle. Their gardening kits contain growing containers, potting mix, seeds, and complete instructions. Garden kits are especially suitable for new gardeners, including children. For youngsters, there are very appealing garden kits.

For garden plants and seeds, heirloom varieties have special appeal. Examples include the Limber Twig apple, Fordhook bush lima bred by W. Atlee Burpee in the 1890s, and Golden Bantam sweet corn (the very first yellow sweet corn) named for Burpee’s Golden Bantam chickens.

Those with small gardens will love the new vertical garden planters. These can be used indoors and out.

Fairy gardens are another gardening trend. Give gardeners hardy miniature plants for their fairy garden. They would also welcome special miniature fairy garden furnishings.

For the gardener who has everything, create the ultimate garden gift—a living chess set like the one at Meadow View Gardens. This is basically much like a knot garden with the chess pieces on elevated stands inside each enclosure. Space the plants at the required intervals for the chess board.

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