December 8, 2021
Holiday Gifts for the Gardener
Hopefully most of your holiday shopping is well in hand, but if you still have a gardener on your list I have a few suggestions for you.
Gardening enthusiasts never have enough plants. They may say they don't need any more plants, but really — we are all addicted to the new and unusual plant specimen. There are many new plant boutiques in addition to our traditional garden centers. Stop by a plant shop and look for a unique house plant to delight the gardener on your list. Try to get as much information about the plant as possible to go along with the gift.
Books on gardening are always a welcome gift. Gardening books on composting, pollinator gardening, propagating, and native plants will be read for enjoyment and become a valuable resource in a gardener's library. The UF/IFAS Bookstore has wonderful titles to choose from: http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/.
Good gardeners keep good records. It is important to track planting dates and rainfall, and sketch what is where in the garden. The blank pages of a fresh garden journal will delight a seasoned gardener and get a new gardener off to a good start.
When it comes to tools you usually get what you pay for. For example, look for hand pruners that are of good quality. I am hoping that Santa brings me a leather pruner holster that I can put on my belt, so I can stop misplacing my expensive pruners. Or, if weeds are an issue for your gardening friends, a tall four-pronged hoe allows for easy weed pulling from a standing position.
Gloves don't last forever so a new pair of gloves make a great gift. Nitrile-coated gloves that breathe are excellent for Florida gardening. Gauntlet-style leather gloves for pruning roses work well for protecting hand and arms from rose thorns as well as from bromeliads and cycad spines.
We are in the Sunshine State, so sun protection is very important. A sun hat with neck protection is a wonderful gift — the bigger the better, to create as much shade as possible. There are many vented fishing shirts that contain sun protection in the fabric. These also make great gardening shirts and will protect your gardening friends from our powerful Florida sun.
If you are hoping to get someone hooked on gardening, an in-home tabletop hydroponic system can convert a novice into an enthusiast. These systems are soilless and have an LED lighting system to deliver the perfect amount of light and heat to grow plants in the home. The best plants for these systems are herbs and lettuces, so they are great for cooks to keep right in the kitchen. This Ask IFAS document lays out the science behind these systems: "Growing Lettuce in Small Hydroponic Systems."
Maybe your gardening desires were filled this holiday season, but if not use this inspiration list to treat yourself with a "to me, from me" gift that you will use in the garden all year long. Wishing you the best for a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.
-- Wendy Wilber