Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on November 25, 1998. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Gift Ideas Abound For Avid Gardeners
By Norman Winter,
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
The big push for the ideal Christmas gift has begun and for gardeners the wish list can be quite extensive. It's not a tie, flannel pajamas or fuzzy slippers but something for the horticultural spirit.
For those who are tired of trying to protect plants in the winter, a hobby greenhouse is an easy and timely solution. Greenhouse gardening will soon become a passion instead of a hobby.
For years I put washing machine boxes, refrigerator boxes, cans and blankets over plants. I've never used a garage for a car but had it strung up with lights as bright as downtown Dallas and full of plants and with all the critters that go with those plants. I just did not realize how economical or easy it was to have a greenhouse.
The greatest joy of a greenhouse occurs when you open the door on a cold blustery day and walk into your own private tropical world. Your workday worries have somehow been left outside.
Greenhouses are not just for protection but allow you to plant seeds early, propagate by cuttings, and get a jump-start on the growing season. The first thoughts that come to your mind may be orchids, bromeliads and Christmas cactus. There are oodles of greenhouse kits that are easy to install.
The most important rule before building a greenhouse is to build one larger than you think you need. You will fill it up fast. Obviously, there are other considerations like site and light, heat and water. A greenhouse might seem extravagant, but if you consider freeing up the garage for the cars and what a garage costs, a greenhouse could be a bargain.
Gardeners appreciate any tool. I've never known a rose grower or really anyone who would frown when given a new pair of pruning shears. Having another pair of Corona or Felco pruning shears for some is like having a Certificate of Deposit.
This time of the year is a great time to curl up on the couch with a good gardening magazine. If you haven't checked out the newsstands or bookstores lately, you will be surprised at how many magazines there are.
If you are worried that getting a subscription would cause your gift not to arrive in time here is an easy way to have success. When you find one at the bookstore that you think your gardener would like buy a copy and wrap it up for the tree. Send in one of the enclosed subscription cards and you've just bingoed.
There have been years I have asked for manure, or humus and other years, metal landscape edging and plants. My brother commented on what a geek I was. There have also been years when I've shouted for joy over getting a gift certificate from my favorite garden center.
Those gifts of the rooster slippers, neon ties and terry bathrobes don't go unappreciated but we gardeners can open new doors for creative shopping.