My son asked me Thanksgiving night what I wanted for Christmas. Like he had to ask? We gardeners are always thrilled with toys and practical items for the garden, from seeds to shovels. Even novices enjoy plants, herbs to grow indoors and seeds to try next spring.
One item that intrigued me, especially since I have an orchard of miniature apple trees, is the Apple-Tree-From-Seed kit found at the Old Farmers’ Almanac General Store.  The gift kit contains everything needed to start and grow an apple tree. An aluminum tag is included to put a personalized inscription on the tree. You could dedicate the tree to a loved one, commemorate a wedding or birth or name the tree. I’d call mine Eve probably, to be cheeky. The kit is in a hydrocarbon-free jute bag and consists of the tree seed, growing medium, germination bag with wafer, coir seedling pot, terra cotta saucer, and directions. The apple is Ralls Janet, a large greenish-yellow colored skin with heavy crimson striping. It’s an antique (one of Fuji’s parents) and an excellent apple for eating out of hand.
Another idea from The General Store, an indoor herb kit , would make the perfect gift for any gardener, from beginner to master. It’s not expensive, either, so the trio of Italian parsley, garlic chives and basil in a pail would make the perfect hostess gift, too. The pail are made of recycled material fits right on your windowsill. Soil, coconut husks for drainage, and instructions are included, too. The website also has plenty of tips on how to grow plants inside during the winter.
Fairy gardens have emerged in 2012 as a huge trend. People love to combine tiny plants, creatures and garden tools to create their own piece of magic and beauty. Buy a few petite arbors, benches and gnomes. Place them in a unique shallow planter along with a gift certificate for tiny plants at a local garden center. Even “tweens” would love a fairy garden kit.
Tiny delights abound in the fairy garden section at garden centers. Pick a few that will instantly make a compelling scene and add a gift certificate for petite plants to be chosen by the gift recipient later. Photo by Doreen Howard.
One of my favorite gifts to assemble for gardening friends is a terra cotta cup (it can be used later as a planter for succulents) filled with packets of flower seeds, a pair garden gloves and pruning shears. Substitute a hand trowel for the pruners to keep costs low. No gardener can have too many of those items. I keep an extra cup of goodies, wrapped, under my tree for old friends who stop in unexpectedly or neighbors who treat us with loads for Christmas cookies and cakes. Baking isn’t one of my strong suites during the holidays, and it’s well known!
Assemble interesting flower seed packets, garden gloves and hand trowel or pruning shears and place in a flower pot for a quick gift any gardener will love. Photo by Doreen Howard.
Be sure to order gifts before Dec. 15 so they arrive by Christmas Eve. If you’re willing to pay a premium, most websites ship up to Dec. 21. Meanwhile, treat yourself, too. There are plenty unique gardening dreams out there.
Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.
In stores now!
Look for Doreen's newest book, Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday's Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs for Today's Cook. Find in stores everywhere including Walmart and on the Web including amazon.com .