Karen Chapman | | , , ,| By
Garden Gnome Tree OrnamentIt has become a tradition that on Christmas Eve our family exchanges a small gift – specifically a tree ornament. My husband Andy surprised us all last year with the cutest gnomes which we all raved about so much that he agreed to sell them as a limited edition item through his business Stumpdust . You can even customize the beard color to your favorite garden helper! Each one is unique and hand crafted in our barn from salvaged wood, often from our own garden. They would make a lovely stocking stuffer – or maybe you'd like to start your own ornament exchange this year? Plenty more gift ideas too including some seriously cute chickens – this short video shows Andy at work.
DeWit Hand-Forged ToolsOf all my garden tools, these rank highest on the 'must have' list. I don't think there's a time when I have ventured into the garden and not used one of them. The trowel I use for weeding, slicing through roots, dividing small perennials, and digging holes for planting while the hand fork is indispensable for assessing root positions of nearby plants, teasing apart roots of pot bound plants and prying out individual annuals from container designs without damaging adjacent plants. They get used in the landscape as much as containers. For tools that get so much use quality and longevity are key. Cheap aluminum won't withstand this sort of use and the handle needs to be smooth and comfortable. That's why I turn to my DeWit tools every time which feature hand-forged steel and a lifetime guarantee. There is also a lovely 3-piece gift option which includes a cultivator.
Kids WheelbarrowWe bought this for our granddaughter Anna when she was 2. Three and a half years later it still gets plenty of use, carrying twigs from one part of the garden to another! We found this one at our local ACE hardware store but you may find it at some box stores. Here are some alternatives that are available online if you prefer to minimize in-person shopping this season: Hearthsong, Seymour, and Stanley.
Subscription or MembershipTruly the gift that keeps on giving all year, whether you choose a magazine subscription or membership to a local botanical garden, a local public garden or an international gardening organization such as the Royal Horticultural Society.
ExperiencesThink back on the past year – what are you best memories? Quickly write them down – don't think about it too hard! Now look over your list – I bet most of them were experiences rather than things, am I right? For me that list includes our trip to Hawaii this fall (sunsets, snorkeling, tropical flowers), my first ever visit to the Chelsea Flower Show with our daughter, and swimming in my first "Big Girl event" and doing surprisingly well. None of those were gift-wrapped, yet each will be a lifelong memory. What experience can you give to others – or maybe treat yourself to? Is there a fun workshop you can attend with a friend? Maybe a cooking class that will inspire you to try growing new produce? Or a floral design class? What about a visit to a garden show? I can highly recommend the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Perhaps it's an online course to teach you who to grow seeds successfully or design your best ever container gardens? What about a trip? Is this the year you finally take that trip to England you've always dreamed about?
BooksI was reminded recently that "blue light" (ie screens) can impair my ability to fall asleep as it suppresses the body's release of melatonin (which makes us feel drowsy). Oops. Time to put my reading glasses by the bed and get back to basics with some real books! Need title ideas? Garden Design have many of my favorites on the shelf right now. Plus you can do a quick search for BOOKS that I've featured in my blog. (I'd be remiss to point out that I do have a few titles that may be of interest to you too). If you've got a new favorite Holiday gift to share do let me know in the comments.
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Welcome to My Garden Adventures
I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.