The Christmas season is upon us and for those of us with garden-minded friends and family, so is that never-ending quest to obtain the perfect gift for them. Truth be told, you can find what you’re looking for at Amsterdam Garden Centre, but you have to decide what type of gardener you are buying for first. So, here are ten suggestions tailored for particular horticultural tastes.
More and more gardeners are looking to do whatever they can to sustain the natural order of things, given the environmental pressures our planet is experiencing. Pollinators are increasingly stressed due to a lack of habitat, and one way we can help out is by providing a safe home and flowers to forage on. These Bee Diverse Mason Bee nesting blocks are made from corn-based plastic, are reusable, and are much favoured by our native Blue Mason Bee. Handy-persons can build their own custom wooden box to house the nesting blocks.
The Chainsaw Hacker
If you have a significant other who loves any excuse to prune with their handy chainsaw, then I have a gift that will benefit both of you. The Corona razor tooth handsaw is the Cadillac of cutting tools as the curved 13” blade gets into the tightest of spaces and the tempered steel teeth are sharpened on three sides for a smooth cut. I predict they may forget all about their chainsaw for smaller cuts once they use this precision tool.
The Retired Gardener
Age and infirmity will eventually affect everyone who enjoys the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean that plants are no longer a part of their lives. Even the smallest desk or side-table can accommodate a reminder of their love of gardening. This 2-inch Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus) tucked into a tiny Picasso-inspired ceramic pot is bound to bring joy to any friend or family member.
The Plant Collector
Nothing puts a smile on the face of a plant enthusiast better than a gift of a rare species. I have chosen Paper Bush, or Edgeworthia chrysantha, as it is relatively hard to come by and store-bought plants are usually budded, so it can be enjoyed right away. This winter-flowering deciduous shrub is native to China and the spherical blooms have a lingering sweet fragrance.
The Precise Gardener
We all know them, gardeners who keep their hedges impeccably pruned and insist that the rows in their vegetable plots be aligned in parallel perfection. Precise gardeners require precise tools and an old-fashioned dibble is ideal for planting seeds or smaller bulbs such as crocus or snowdrops. This Pinebush model features a comfortable easy-to-turn wood t-handle and a metal-tipped point for longevity.
The Non-Sentimental Type
Here’s the thing about those people who seem practical to the core, deep down inside they are also quite sentimental, although they will never admit it. I suggest a garden-themed Christmas tree ornament for these, as it can be quietly cherished without drawing any attention. Case in point, I once received a brass watering can ornament from a garden design client decades ago, and yet it still finds a place on my tree all these years later.
The Distant Gardener
We are all reminded of distant friends when the Christmas card list comes to mind, but with Canada Post’s wallet emptying package pricing, sending a gift, even a small one, isn’t always in the budget. My solution is to send them a package of tantalizing seeds such as Goji Berry or the rare black fringed poppy, so that you can show them that you care without breaking the bank. Just tuck it into the Christmas card.
The Consummate Pruner
Of course, the opposite of the "chainsaw hacker" is the "consummate pruner," someone who takes his or her time with each and every pruning cut to make sure it is done just so. For these people I suggest a quality pair of secateurs or hand pruners, such as the Felco 5s. These Swiss-made pruners are generally the most affordable they offer but are made of the same tempered steel and will last a lifetime for a home gardener. The other benefit is that every piece is replaceable, so obsolescence is never a problem.
The Bookish Type
We all enjoy a good book on a cold winter’s day, and in my house books are considered an essential Christmas gift. I’ll put on my ruthless self-promotion hat here and suggest my latest book, Extraordinary Ornamental Edibles, a beautifully illustrated tome on all things savory. It is rated as 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon but if you come into Amsterdam and buy a copy, I’ll sign it for you or your loved one.
I’ll admit there are some gardeners who can be very difficult to buy for. They are just black holes of gift ideas because they don’t want to impose. For these enigmas, I would consider a gift card, which to some might feel a little impersonal but when you consider that we carry everything from giftware, seeds, bulbs, shrubs, trees, tools, houseplants, and gloves, maybe it is the best gift idea of all.
All images Copyright 2023 MK Lascelle