On the per­fect Christ­mas gifts for the green thumbs in your life

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - News - Tino Carnevale:

We’ve all got them. There’s al­ways at least one in ev­ery fam­ily and some­times there are quite a few as they tend to clus­ter. They are easy to spot, they seem to con­stantly have dirt un­der their fin­ger nails no mat­ter how much they scrub their hands, you al­ways seem to see them with a leafy back­ground like they pos­sess a ver­dant aura and there is the slight whiff of good earth that fol­lows them where ever the go. They are the fam­ily gar­den­ers. Trust me, if you are buy­ing a Christ­mas present for a gar­dener it should be func­tional, in­spi­ra­tional or a plant.

Presents that have a func­tion are usu­ally my favourites, things like hand tools, prop­a­ga­tion equip­ment and safety gear, even com­post bins and worm farms.

If you are choos­ing a tool as a present it is best to take into ac­count the phys­i­cal at­tributes and abil­i­ties of the gar­dener it is in­tended for. Nana is un­likely to be swing­ing a block buster and del­i­cate flo­ral snips are prob­a­bly go­ing to be pretty use­less in Un­cle Harold the black­smith’s giant hands. Many use­ful tools such as dig­gers, wheel­bar­rows and leather gloves are now avail­able in small sizes, not just jokey toys but sturdy items for those tiny green thumbs.

Like all of us, gar­den­ers love to be in­spired and there is a seem­ingly end­less flow of books on ev­ery gar­den re­lated topic. So much lit­er­a­ture has been writ­ten on the sub­ject, both prac­ti­cal and as­pi­ra­tional and a book makes a mighty fine present for peo­ple of any age. If you are af­ter a gift that lasts well af­ter the Christ­mas lights have been taken down then

One word of ad­vice on plants [to give as gifts] though, go­ing for smaller grow­ing plants is best

there are mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tions, club mem­ber­ships, tours and short cour­ses in a huge range of hor­ti­cul­tural pur­suits.

I do re­alise I am very bi­ased, but in my opin­ion a plant is the most well rounded gift you can give. It can be classy, beau­ti­ful, use­ful and if it’s some­thing like an ap­ple tree, it is the ul­ti­mate ex­am­ple of a gift that keeps on giv­ing. I re­ally do dread to think of the amount of times an es­sen­tial Christ­mas gift has been brought at a very pa­tient nurs­ery at 4.55pm on Christ­mas Eve.

One word of ad­vice on plants though, go­ing for smaller grow­ing plants is best. There’s al­ways a space for pot­ted colour or a small shrub but un­less the re­ceiver has acreage, a blue gum is prob­a­bly go­ing to be too much for a stan­dard back yard.

In­door plants are hav­ing a resur­gence in pop­u­lar­ity and it’s some­thing that will brighten a room and can be en­joyed ev­ery day.

Mak­ing or grow­ing your own is even bet­ter. Last year some of the sweet­est things the girls got were suc­cu­lents planted in retro mugs, gifted from cousins and still grow­ing strong on a stone wall in the back gar­den. A plait of home grown gar­lic is al­ways grate­fully re­ceived and bay leaf wreathes, apri­cot jam from the pre­vi­ous sum­mers fruit and slen­der bot­tles of rasp­berry in­fused vodka are quite sought af­ter in many cir­cles. Hand dec­o­rated pack­ets of open pol­li­nated seeds and vouch­ers for fu­ture labour are not to be dis­missed, as some­one’s time and care is surely at a premium these days.

Giv­ing freely and with the right in­ten­tion, mind­ful that the gift is some­thing that will be gen­uinely needed or ap­pre­ci­ated is the essence of gift giv­ing and re­mem­ber, a gift can be any­thing, whether it be time, ef­fort or a bag of ma­nure.

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