Holiday gifts for gardeners | Canada.Com

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Helen Chesnut suggests keeping everything as simple as possible, sticking to the essentials and shopping locally, in garden centers and other outlets this Christmas season

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Helen chestnut Homemade gifts from the garden, such as jam or jelly, are definitely worth considering this Christmas season. Homemade gifts from the garden, such as jam or jelly, are definitely worth considering this Christmas season. Photo by Getty Images /PNG

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Q. Have you already thought about how gardening families could organize the Christmas holidays and giving gifts this year? I think that with all the natural and human challenges facing us recently, many families must feel at least a little insecure.

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A. Keeping everything as simple as possible, sticking to the essentials and shopping on site, in garden centers and other outlets, immediately comes to mind.

In the past two years, food security has become an important issue. People have moved in droves to grow some of their own food in their gardens and on patios, decks and balconies. Gifts to support this ongoing, extremely useful quest could include seeds, labels, waterproof marker pens, and perhaps a book on food gardening. The most comprehensive title I know of year-round growing vegetables and fruits in our climate is Linda Gilkeson’s Backyard Bounty.

Consider flower seeds that will fit well in kitchen gardens and will attract beneficial insects. The best include sweet alyssum, marigold, coriander, and cosmos. Nasturtiums brighten a vegetable garden.
There are several types of seed germination devices available for growing nutritious foods indoors. Suitable seeds include mung beans, adzuki beans, alfalfa, and mixtures. The seeds must be labeled as safe from germination, ie they must not be treated with fungicides.

Microgreens are grown in shallow pots and a planting mix. Beet greens, kale, pea and sunflower shoots are popular. West Coast Seeds provides useful information and seeds for both microgreens and germination.

Also think of simple, homemade gifts from the garden, such as jam or jelly. My big sweet laurel tree offers many gifts tied with raffia for friends.

Gardeners, especially beginners, may not have all of the tools they need to do simple gardening. Perhaps a sturdy, long-handled digging shovel, a comfortable hand cultivator or long-life hand shears would be helpful.

Local garden center displays present further ideas for matching a simple gift with the buyer’s current gardening interests, indoors or outdoors.

  1. Small leaves or chopped large leaves are perfect for isolating a garden bed in winter.

    Small leaves ideal for winter ground cover

  2. Winter heather is the star of this beautiful garden designed by David Wilson.

    Brian Minter: Plants for winter color and game feeding

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