Garden Clippings


| December 2007



Garden centers offer great gift ideas

If you're like me - and judging from the department store lines, the majority of other Americans - you've procrastinated about finishing your holiday shopping and are scurrying to finish things up in the last few days. I tell myself every year that I won't get into this predicament, only to find myself with a list of things not yet purchased and only a few shopping days left.

Over the past few years, I have developed a no-fail plan to finish my shopping without worrying about finding a parking space, standing in long check out lines, and dealing with testy, overworked sales staff. The plan is simple: I shop at my local garden center.

If you haven't noticed, the parking lots at garden centers are not that crowded during the holiday season. A few customers may stop in to buy holiday items, and you may see a few hard-core gardeners who are there buying seeds or plants, but you won't find a mob of people like you do at department stores and malls. The gardening staff is more than helpful in finding items you might be looking for, and they just might be willing to talk about anything under the sun since panicked shoppers haven't deluged them. Gift items are readily available for the gardeners on your list, as well as for those with a brown thumb.

Hand tools make an excellent gift for a gardener. A nice pair of hand pruners, a trowel or a bulb planter is always a welcome addition to most anyone's tool shed. There are also those newfangled weeder and ergonomic hand tools to choose from, if you're unsure about whether the recipient is already well-stocked with the standard tools.

Bird feeders are always a safe gift idea for gardeners - and even for most people who don't garden. I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy watching, either through a frosted window or from a deck or patio, colorful birds come to a feeder on a pleasant winter day. Styles of feeders vary widely. There is little chance that you will duplicate a purchased feeder to one that already might be in the recipient's garden.

A unique gift idea for anyone who enjoys being outdoors is a chiminea - an outdoor fire pit - which can also be purchased at most garden centers. Chimineas are made of clay and are used on decks and patios to help keep you warm on cool days and evenings. A few pieces of pinyon or mesquite burning in a chiminea provides a relaxing atmosphere. Although most of these outdoor fire pits are quite safe, it would be a good idea to also include a small fire extinguisher with the gift to deter any possible accidents.





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