Gift giving to a gardener

Gift giving to a gardener
Getting someone a gift that would at least nudge them outside to beautify and the landscape with proper tools and inspiration, I’d be willing to go that far.

EAST TEXAS - One wouldn’t dare to gift a dieting book. It would take a certain … someone to give a gym membership. Honestly, who would suggest such a thing?

But getting someone a gift that would at least nudge them outside to beautify and the landscape with proper tools and inspiration, I’d be willing to go that far.

To that end, let me suggest for gardeners and those who want to encourage gardening a few gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

For the cook and beginning gardener, a small rosemary plant in a pot that is trimmed like a Christmas tree is nice place to start. Rosemary doesn’t need a lot of watering. Can instantly make a savory addition to home-cooked meals and then can be easily transplanted into a sunny location outside. You gift that and you just may encourage better eating and a healthy hobby.

Other gardening items to consider include quality pruners. I’ve gone thru my share of them over the years.

For the past few years, I’ve written about some gifts for the gardener or that one who spends time outside working in the yard. As I look at the calendar and the little time left before Christmas, I’ve got a few more ideas for you to give your gardening enthusiast.

Obliviously plants are going to top my list. Pawpaws are a unique native, fruiting tree that may work. It is an understory tree so it does not require full sunlight that so many of our other fruit trees require.

Blackberries are native and typically easy to grow. And if you object to the thorns, rest assured that there are several great varieties that are indeed thorn-less. As a bonus, look for some of the “Prime” varieties that yield fruit in the early summer AND now in the fall!

Mayhaws don’t require a bog to grow in. They can do quite well in a traditional yard if watered occasionally. Do a little research online and you’ll find some selected varieties of this local gem.

True gardeners most likely know all about “pass-along-plants”. This year I’m gifting my excess Crinum lily and am receiving Sago palm pups.

The problem is that we really don’t pass along to many plants due to the large selection of several, quality nurseries. Let me propose that heirloom plants can certainly be purchased from local and online nurseries!

Garden structures such as fire pits, fancy birdhouses, or an obelisk may be a fine addition to the landscape, and certainly won’t need any maintenance.

Quality tools are always a good option. I know that all too well as, I confess, I’ve bought one of the lower quality rakes, shovels, hoes or whatever. It won’t last and will only add to the frustration when it does break.

Quality tools command top prices, but provide years of service. Felco pruners and loppers are for the serious gardener. True, they’ll command a price tag of almost $50, but oh, my, they made strong and are outstanding quality.

For older gardeners that do have a full landscape and garden, but are having troubles working outside, there are several rolling seats, kneeling cushions, and other aids to make tending to plants easier.

Lastly, I think of gardeners as lifelong learners. I’ve recently been enjoying more local history and ecological topics. I’d suggest Land of Bears and Honey: A Natural History of East Texas by Truett and Lay. More locally related is Paddling the Wild Neches by Richard Donovan. Each book can be had for about $20.

Identification books for birds, trees and other plans are the popular ones on my bookshelf. Though it’s a little technical, Trees, Shrubs, & Woody Vines of East Texas by Elray Nixon has solved many a local “what is this plant” question. It was a little pricey. A lower cost book is Trees of East Texas by Robert Vines.

Wander the aisles in our local nurseries and ask what’s been a favorite. Consider what tools are worn out and think of the additions that help your gardener enjoy the garden and landscape even more.

And if I don’t see you soon, have a merry Christmas!

Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is cw-sims@tamu.edu .