I'd love to help you select some special gifts this season – gifts to bring smiles and joy, gifts that show your love and appreciation. All these gifts are ones that I can personally recommend.
For Young Garden Helpers
For Young-at Heart Gardeners
In my last blog post, I featured a new book The Lifelong Gardener by Toni Gattone and that would be my number 1 pick for those on your list who are seeking ways to continue to enjoy their gardens even as they get older.
I'd also include Shawna Coronado's new book Stacked with Flavor in this category . It's full of flavorful recipes for an anti-inflammatory diet, something arthritis sufferers will appreciate.
Several of the tools in Toni's book would also make this list, including her Garden Works Soil Scoop which is a wonderful multi-purpose tool with a comfortable grip for those who struggle with arthritis.
I personally love these West Coast insulated, waterproof gloves for winter gardening as my hands get so cold. I have a couple of pairs on the go at once as one always seems to be in the wash! There are men's and women's sizes available.
For the Garden Traveler
I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States and England, enjoying the gardens, the people, and the history. Here are a few ideas for those of us with gardening wanderlust.
- Gardenlust: A botanical tour of the worlds best new gardens (Timber Press, 2018) by Christopher Woods.
- The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer (Timber Press, 2015) by Bill Thomas
- Nature into Art: The Gardens of Wave Hill (Timber Press, 2019) by Thomas Christopher
- Planting the Natural Garden (Timber Press, 2019) by Piet Oudolf & Henk Gerritsen – a MUST READ for anyone on our England or East Coast Garden Tours!
Royal Horticultural Society: get their monthly magazine, and discounted pricing on shows, gardens, and gifts. TIP: Use their "gift" option to have the introductory packet sent directly to the recipient.
Join a Garden Tour
Want to give an experience? A memory?
Check out what garden tours are being offered in the new year – there's something for everyone and every budget. Treat yourself – or a special friend. Where have you always wanted to go? Here are a few ideas hosted by folks whom I know personally and can recommend with confidence: Carex Tours (Europe), Jerry Fritz (international and domestic), JJ de Sousa (Loire Valley), Ma Petite Gardens Tours (international and domestic) and of course I'd love you to join me, Le jardinet (England and domestic). Got somewhere else in mind? Check out Garden Design for travel ideas or shoot me an email and I'd be happy to recommend a company.
For the Animal Lover
Perky penguins, cute little mice, and jaunty chickens – how can you choose just one?! Made from salvaged wood, often from our own garden in Duvall, WA, my husband Andy handcrafts these treasures in our barn. Take a look at his Stumpdust shop and select something special for your friends and family. (You'll also find garden tools, honey pots, and exquisite Christmas tree ornaments.)
For the Armchair Gardener
I love to curl up with a good gardening book, don't you? My bookshelves, office desk, coffee table, and nightstand are loaded high! Here are some of the latest publications which I have read and recommend besides those already mentioned – including a couple you may recognize.
Deer-Resistant Design: fence-free gardens that thrive despite the deer (Timber Press, 2019) by Karen Chapman (Read my blog post on this book)
Gardening with Foliage First: 127 Dazzling Combinations that Pair the Beauty of Leaves with Flowers, Bark, Berries, and More (Timber Press, 2017) by Karen Chapman & Christina Salwitz (Read my blog post on this book)
Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being (Timber Press, 2018) by Jessi Bloom. (Read my blog post on this book)
Gardentopia: Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces (Countryman Press, 2019) by Jan Johnson (Read my blog post on this book)
The Less is More Garden Big ideas for designing your small yard (Timber Press, 2018) by Susan Morrison (Read my blog post on this book)
For the Garden Photographer
I've recommended some of these before and have no hesitation in doing so again, as I still use them all the time and stand by their high quality and usefulness.
But I'll start with a new one – a camera strap (you can just glimpse it in my photo above) which my husband bought for me and I LOVE. I can adjust this to go across my body (saves neck strain) with a simple one-finger slide adjustment and it quickly can be removed from the camera body for mounting on a tripod if necessary. Huge improvement on the default strap that digital cameras typically come with.
A tripod is an indispensable piece of camera kit, enabling you not only to avoid camera shake, but also to take superior low-light shots and frame up the scene in a more deliberate way. I LOVE my lightweight, super-portable MeFoto RoadTrip tripod. It fits easily into my carry-on or can be strapped to my camera back pack, is sturdy enough to manage my 18-135mm lens, is fully adjustable AND even converts quickly into a monopod for those scenarios when there isn't room for a full tripod (think garden tours, narrow paths…). Lots of pretty colors too (I chose the purple you see above.) Highly recommended and great value.
Taking all the photographs for my latest book involved traveling with two camera bodies, several lenses, remote shutter release cables, filters, SD cards, battery chargers, and more. I realized pretty quickly that I needed to keep everything with me as I was shooting – I couldn't go back for something I had left in the car or I'd miss "the" shot. While there are many fancy camera bags out there I have found this inexpensive camera backpack from Amazon ideal, It can quickly be reconfigured to take any combination of gear using the velcro separators and the wide padded straps make it comfortable to carry even when fully loaded through the largest of airports or gardens.
And finally the perfect stocking stuffer for garden photographers – a waterproof case for all the memory cards one needs! Many photographers would use it to store 12 cards. I actually use it to store 6. I store unused cards on one side then transfer them to the other side as I fill them. BONUS TIP: make some paper inserts with a grid of 6 rectangles drawn on. Then write in each grid what is on that card e.g. "Chanticleer", "Grand Canyon". It makes it easier to sort things out when you're ready to download the images
For the Container Gardener
I was thrilled that my online workshop, Designing Abundant Containers, won the silver award for excellence this year from the garden communications organization GardenComm. Here are the full course details. Be sure to select the regular course for yourself – or the gift option if this is for someone else.
I love making gifts – whether it is baked goods, something sewn or a container garden. This popular online workshop will demonstrate how to make festive indoor holiday containers – ideal for teachers, neighbors, and hostess gifts. Check out the video and get all the details here.
Time to celebrate
Shopping done? Then I suggest it's time for a glass of hot mulled wine! Here's my favorite recipe that serves 6.
- Warm together slowly (don't boil) in a large pan or dutch oven:
1 bottle of red wine (I use a moderately priced cabernet sauvignon)
A healthy splash of brandy (2 Tbspns or so)
A healthy splash or three of orange juice (about 1/2 cup or so)
Approx 1/4 cup barbados (demerara) sugar – or to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg + 2 cinnamon sticks+ 15 whole cloves (tie the cloves securely in muslin or an infuser).
- Float fresh orange and lemon slices on top.
- Allow to simmer until you can't wait any longer then ladle the hot liquid into heat-proof glasses (TIP: put a metal spoon into a wine glass before you pour in the hot liquid to avoid the glass breaking).
- Top up with liquid(s) as necessary!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Disclaimer: this post includes some affiliate links, which means they won't cost you any more, but I'll earn a few pennies towards my next must-have plant.