Good to Grow: Thoughtful gifts for gardeners

Watercolors and note cards from local artist Sharon Harms are available at the WV Marketplace in Charleston’s Capitol Market.
Article by Jane Powell, Good to Grow

It’s time. Time to make your list and check it twice. As you begin (or finish) your shopping, I want to share a few of my favorite gifts to give and receive.

Winter months can cause garden withdrawal, but books can help. Maybe it’s a glossy coffee table book from Bunny Williams, such as “On Garden Style” or “An Affair With a House.”

Maybe it’s a history lesson. “American Eden” is about David Hosack, widely considered to have assembled one of America’s first botanical gardens. Take a peek at “Life in the Garden,” by Penelope Lively.

For a how-to book to help your gardener make plans for spring, consider “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew, or Llewellyns’s “Moon Sign Book.” There’s even a Moon Sign datebook planner. The “2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac” would make a great stocking stuffer.

Call me crazy, but I like to get garden tools — something that I would love to own but make do without. I do have one rule about tools: nothing that plugs in. I draw the line at electrical appliances as gifts. For your gardener, think about a Garden Weasel twist tiller, a Hula Hoe stirrup hoe or perhaps tiny hand pruners (perfect for fine-tuning a bush, arrangement or garden craft). Maybe even a compost sorter — it comes in handy when cleaning off bulbs in the fall and drying garlic.

Many years ago, as I was moving into the little house on a big hill, I dreamed of window boxes adorning the front windows. I put them on my Christmas list.

Santa was good to me that year, and I have had years of enjoyment from that simple gift. Gardeners never seem to have enough containers and are always happy to have a beautiful pot to fill with plants. Don’t worry about giving an empty crock. You can throw in a few jingle bells, pieces of chocolate or, better yet, a local musician’s CD. Sometimes I even find an over-sized antique spoon that I will include to act as a trowel.

For the fashionista gardener, a new pair of garden boots or clogs with coordinating gloves is always a hit. Boots come in such great patterns and colors. Does your gardener like chickens? I saw boots in a funky chicken pattern at our local feed store. If I’m being honest, I have multiple pairs of garden clogs. They are scattered around all my doors, making it easy for me to dash outside with the pup in the early mornings or late nights.

For a one-of-a-kind gift, look to our local craftsmen and artists. Wenweaves artist Wendy Clark dyes and weaves her own yarn. She takes inspiration from the countryside surrounding her family’s log cabin. The colors and quality of her yarns are stunning. Wendy has scarves, towels and baby wraps. Her love of the craft shines through in each piece of work.

I was recently given a painting by local artist Pat Cross. It has become a cherished part of my art collection. Her focus on a single bloom, showing its beauty in detail, is a thrill for this gardener.

There is much local art to choose from. If an original piece is not in your budget at this time, consider a print or a set of note cards. Riveting Notes photographer Deborah Herndon not only has framed, numbered prints available, but her collection of note cards makes a lovely gift.

Sharon Harms uses her garden for inspiration and creates colorful framed watercolors. She also has boxed sets of note cards.

Let’s not forget lotions and soaps. I buy big cakes of soap from craft fairs. There are always so many scents to choose from. Select a few soaps, maybe add a hand towel, and you have an easy gift. Same for lotions and salves. Gardener’s hard-working hands need all the tender loving care they can get.

Teas, homemade cookies or a pot of local honey make gardeners (especially this one) happy. Nothing beats a hot drink and a cookie while gazing out the window planning what to do in the spring.

Whatever you choose, in whatever price range that is right for you, I encourage you to visit your local bookstores, local art fairs and local markets. There, you will find people taking pride in their work. You will be purchasing a product that was created with love and skill, and you will be giving a truly special gift.

Happy holidays and best wishes from this gardener and all the creatures at the little house on a big hill. Thank you for your attention and positive comments throughout the year. Cheers to 2019!