Perfect Gifts for Gardeners

If someone in your family is a gardener, it’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for their favorite local plant nursery. Yesterday, I set out to spend last Christmas’ present from my brother and sister-in-law in one fell swoop. I combined that with some cash left over from last year’s donation to my plant fund made by my cat and dog. In the end, I only had to add $20 to get every single plant I wanted --- a mere two garden carts full. I had a ball.

Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since the gift will be seen every day. I suppose some gardeners daydream about tools, but I’ve inherited two generations' worth of every tool imaginable. Correction, every tool I can imagine. Well, there is that mini-backhoe thing, but then we’d have to build a garage for it ….

Garden books also make welcome presents, though with my library pushing 150 volumes, well-meaning friends and relatives are taking a chance by making a selection themselves. A better choice might be a gift certificate to a bookstore, or to Amazon.

There, an armload of used books can be purchased for a pittance. Since the information in gardening books rarely goes out of date (except, perhaps, for pesticides, preservatives, and pests), I enjoy buying early books by garden writers, landscape designers, and photographers whose work I admire.

Sometimes surprises can work out well, though. My sister-in-law chose for my birthday a book called A Gardener’s Life by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury. Christine must have been paying close attention during the description of my favorite garden fantasy, wherein I stroll the gardens in the evening, like Vanessa Redgrave in Howard’s End, attired in my most favorite luminous, fluid, white outfit from Haroon’s, like a ghost at dusk. There on the cover is the Marchioness, in her most elegant, white flowing dress, making her rounds of the garden! Inside the book, the huge, manicured, formal garden estates were all owned, designed, or re-designed by the Marchioness, a fantasy for landscape designers , to be sure.

Dan and I will never become landed gentry. But gardening is primarily about dreaming, isn’t it? I could actually get that dress out of the closet and float around the garden in it. Will it offend anyone if Dan calls me “Lady Lois” in the privacy of our own home?

Gardeners hope to dream something from our mind’s eye into existence, just as I envision my twilight fantasy. Any gift that helps a gardener birth that dream into the real world is the perfect gift.

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