If you’re looking for some affordable items to use as last minute gifts, here are some foolproof ideas featuring garden and landscape-related themes.
You can’t go wrong with landscape design kits. These are often available at nurseries and garden centers. For those with small landscapes where space is very limited, the stacking container gardens are just perfect.
Garden journals make wonderful gifts. These enable gardeners to record pertinent information, such as what is in bloom and what they did in the landscape at various times of the year. My favorite journal by far is “The New Three-Year Garden Journal” by Louise Carter et al with lush color photos by Allen Rokach, published by Fulcrum. Completely revised and updated, this sturdy hardcover has a concealed spiral binding. The introduction features gardening guides for each of the different regions of the country. This offers in-depth, practical advice and details on landscape design as well. It lists what to do in the landscape each week of the year in the seven regions. There is plenty of space to make notes in each of the three years. The appendix is a treasure-trove of information on various landscape topics, including how-tos on planting and plant care as well as gardening tools and supplies.
As in serving food, presentation really matters with gift plants. It can make an otherwise ordinary plant really stand out. I recommend using attractive cache pots, baskets, or waterproof gift wraps to dress up plain plant pots. For those who want to do more, Ryland Peters and Small released a delightful guide. “Floral Gifts-Creating Flower-Filled Gifts for Every Occasion” is by Jacky Hobbs with photos by Michelle Garrett. This offers quick and easy ideas for Christmas as well as other holidays and special occasions. There are chapters devoted specifically to gifts for men as well as for women. In addition, readers will find the chapter on themed gifts very helpful with numerous suggestions for gardening gifts.
Those with herb gardens in the landscape would love to receive herb-related gifts, including books on cooking with the herbs they’ve harvested. “Cooking With Herbs and Spices” by Linda Tubby et al was released by Ryland Peters and Small. An introductory chapter offers basic tips on using herbs and spices. Along with scrumptious dishes for every meal and occasion, there are also recipes for various kinds of relishes, herb butters, vinegars, and herb-flavored oils as well as herb teas. With easy to follow instructions, most of these recipes are quick to prepare.
Gardeners with an interest in crafts love to receive craft books that feature garden and landscape-related themes. Recently, the American Quilter’s Society released “Veggies From the Good Earth Applique Album” by Bea Oglesby. Illustrated in full color, this book features 15 full-size patterns using colorful flowers and vegetables. With easy to follow, step-by-step instructions, these projects can be mixed and matched as the garden crafter sees fit to create pillows, table runners, wall hangings, and bed quilts.
Those involved in paper crafts will find many garden and landscape-related ideas in “3D Pop-Up Greeting Cards” by Keiko Nakazawa from Kodansha America. This features 60 inspirational designs, many with garden plants or garden and landscape scenes. This guide has quick and easy instructions and cut-out templates with step-by-step instructions and diagrams. The author is a celebrated origami artist.
For stocking stuffers, last minute gifts, and hostess gifts, I like to keep some landscape-related note card sets and stationery items around just in case. In its fall lineup, Galison released a number of garden-themed items with floral and plant motifs. The Art Nouveau Poppies Flip Top Cards set comes in a premium quality box beautifully decorated. This set features 12 trifold blank cards and 13 color envelopes. The images were adapted from art that appears in an English gardening book dating from 1896.
Galison’s Coromandel Laquers Little Keep It Box card set features a magnetic closure. With 21 envelopes, there are 20 notecards with five each of four floral images from the Brooklyn Museum Library.
Birds of the Seasons Keep It Box also features the magnetic closure. This box is attractive enough to keep and use for storing things after the cards are gone. This set has 20 notecards with five each of four subjects and 21 envelopes. The art by renowned artist K. Koizumi shows seasonal landscapes with birds appropriate for the seasons.
Galison also released a new stylish line of landscape-related items, the Bamboo Garden. This features Japanese floral and botantical motifs. Among these items are the Bamboo Garden Pocket Size Write-On Journal, which features 144 lined pages for writing and 16 graph pages for drawing. This has an elastic closure and page protector. The Bamboo Garden Thank You Note Card set features 12 notecards and 13 envelopes.