All set for poin­set­tia gifts

Go green this sea­son, and cel­e­brate with healthy nat­u­ral gifts for the fam­ily

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

HAVE you got a gar­den­ing en­thu­si­ast in your fam­ily, and are you look­ing for gift ideas? Go green this Christ­mas, and avoid the crowds at the malls this fes­tive sea­son, head­ing rather for your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre.

“We have some siz­zling fes­tive gift ideas to suit all pock­ets,” says Nick Stodel from Stodels Nurs­eries.

“Whether it’s for you or your kids, gar­den cen­tres have a range of great green ideas for shop­pers.” Con­sider his ideas: ● In­door plants: Th­ese are colour­ful and pop­u­lar. Any­thing with a hint of colour in the flow­ers, leaves or branches will fit the bill. Think of ger­beras, chrysan­the­mums, be­go­nias, an­thuri­ums and amaryl­lis. Green is also a win­ner at this time of year, so take a look at the love palms, fi­cus plants and ferns. Add a lit­tle gold rib­bon and you have a won­der­fully fes­tive gift.

● Christ­mas flow­ers: The beau­ti­ful, red-flow­er­ing poin­set­tia or Christ­mas flower has al­ways been the most pop­u­lar in­door plant gift for the fes­tive sea­son. Pot­ted and ready for the ta­ble, poin­set­tias will last through­out the fes­tive sea­son. They are grown in green­houses to make them flower in De­cem­ber. When planted in the gar­den, they will re­vert to flow­er­ing in mid­win­ter.

● Colour for the gar­den: Fuch­sias, hy­drangeas and roses are all must-haves. Revel in the va­ri­ety of colours and forms, and you will cer­tainly find many a gift idea among th­ese beau­ties. In­dige­nous plants are also highly re­garded as gifts. They send an eco-friendly, wa­ter­wise mes­sage.

● Seeds: If you are work­ing on a re­duced bud­get, con­sider giv­ing a seed pack. There is a host of seed packs, both for flow­er­ing plants and veg­eta­bles. The new Pa­tio Veg­etable seed range from Bal­lS­traathof has been spe­cially cre­ated for con­tainer gar­den­ing. It in­cludes three dif­fer­ent cherry toma­toes for hang­ing bas­kets, a com­pact vine cu­cum­ber, baby sweet pep­pers, and Sim­ply Herb pots con­sist­ing of dill, pars­ley, thyme or sage.

● Herbs: Con­sider a planter for a sunny win­dowsill in the kitchen so that you can snip what you need as you cook. Look out for a pot­ted basil, pars­ley or thyme. You can also con­sider a minia­ture green­house – the com­plete kit for plant­ing herbs. The kit in­cludes seed for pars­ley, chives and basil, as well as tins for plant­ing and grow­ing tips. Both are great gifts for be­gin­ners and ex­pe­ri­enced gar­den­ers alike.

● Bon­sai: The gift of liv­ing art is a glo­ri­ous idea. Con­sider a pot­ted gin­seng fi­cus bon­sai as a per­fect gift. It’s ideal for first-timers or new­com­ers to the world of bon­sai grow­ing. This lit­tle pot-bel­lied tree is es­pe­cially suited to any­one look­ing to start a hobby in the world of bon­sai. Con­sid­ered the be­gin­ner’s bon­sai, it does very well in­doors, pro­vided it is away from ex­ces­sive light and wa­tered mod­er­ately.

● Gar­den­ing ac­ces­sories: For the true en­thu­si­asts, the list of gift ideas be­yond plants is end­less. Take a look in your loved one’s tool shed be­fore head­ing out to shop, or try a starter kits for pet lovers.

Once you ar­rive at your gar­den cen­tre, look out for at­trac­tive pots, bas­kets, shears, wa­ter­ing cans, dig­ging and plant­ing tools, gloves and gum­boots, kneel­ing pads, weedeaters, sprayers, hedge clippers, a wa­ter fea­ture, wind chime, statue, bench, bird bath or even can­dle hold­ers for night lights.

● For the birds. At­tract­ing birds to your gar­den is an enor­mously re­ward­ing pas­time and there are a num­ber of gifts that will help some­one to set up a bird par­adise. Con­sider a range of wooden bird feed­ers, wild bird seed in the shape of ap­ples or Christ­mas trees, or a spe­cial­ist nec­tar feeder that will at­tract sun­birds.

● Some­thing fishy for the kids: “The Daro Gold­fish starter kit in­cludes mixed gravel and ev­ery­thing you need to set up on Christ­mas morn­ing. Fish are beau­ti­ful, peace­ful and mes­meris­ing. An added bonus is they don’t bark and you don’t need a house sit­ter when you go away,” Stodel quips.

“Gold­fish are per­fect low­main­te­nance pets, and set­ting up ‘home’ for Goldie is par­tic­u­larly fun for cre­ative kids. Not to men­tion the fact that they can make a lit­tle pocket money by breed­ing them. Buy­ing your child a gold­fish as a pet also in­stils a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity as they learn that an­i­mals need lov­ing care and at­ten­tion,” he adds.

For some­thing more elab­o­rate, “in­vest in a fash­ion­able fish tank kit with all the ac­ces­sories, so Nemo and his slightly more ex­otic mates can live hap­pily in your home”.

“Re­mem­ber, fish tanks are soothing and the fes­tive sea­son can be stress­ful, so not only are they the per­fect gift for your child, but for your­self. Watch­ing the fish re­duces anx­i­ety and low­ers blood pres­sure while you re­lax at home.”

● Gar­den­ing 101: An in­for­ma­tive book on gar­den­ing is the per­fect fes­tive sea­son gift. Take your pick from a range of best-loved gar­den­ing books: Or­ganic Gar­den­ing, The Gar­den Plan­ner, Small Space Gar­den­ing, The Gar­dener’s Year and Prac­ti­cal Gar­den­ing, or a book on bon­sai.

● Gar­den­ers Green­house: Get your chil­dren in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing a gar­den of their own with the Gar­den­ers Green­house, a wooden green­house-to-as­sem­ble pack with pot­ting soil, four packs of seeds, a rake and shovel. Ev­ery­thing is clearly la­belled and there are easy-to-fol­low in­struc­tions and la­bels for the seeds.

● Wacky Wellies: Why not buy a pair of Wacky Wellies for your chil­dren? Gone are the days of bor­ing green and black wellies. Mini Max gar­den­ers boots are colour­ful, fun and stylish, and come with large round but­ton eyes on the front, mak­ing them an in­stant hit with young­sters. The boots come in a pretty and sturdy bag for easy stor­age. Fi­nally, if you are un­de­cided, pur­chase a gar­den cen­tre gift voucher to solve all your prob­lems.

SPOT ON: The beau­ti­ful, red-flow­er­ing poin­set­tia or Christ­mas flower has al­ways been the most pop­u­lar in­door plant gift for the fes­tive sea­son.

PEACE: Dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, peace lilies are a heart-warm­ing liv­ing gift.

LOVE IT: Green is a win­ner at this time of year, so con­sider a love palm, left, as one of your gifts. Above: A nec­tar feeder for at­tract­ing sun­birds to your gar­den.

WELL TOOLED: If your loved one has all the nec­es­sary gad­gets for gar­dens, think about buy­ing a group of hand tools.

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