Christmas Gift Ideas
Dec 12 2023 Tom Stewart

Christmas Gift Ideas

Lots of us are considering what to get some of our loved ones for Christmas and with packed shops, busy car parks, crowded streets it can get a little bit stressful to get that gift for those people on your list. Thankfully Garden Centre's tend to be somewhat of a calmer location - usually with free car parking right at the shop and a calming, relaxed atmosphere and perhaps a chance of some free advice or at least a friendly smile and a chat and the opportunity to pick up some memorable gifts that will go down a treat with gardeners - be that someone who is new to gardening or someone who has been gardening for quite some time or someone who wants to get into gardening. Gardening gifts tend to have many benefits, perhaps environmentally friendly in many ways but I think it also gives the recipient the opportunity or excuse to get outside and enjoy a bit of fresh air and maybe a break from family or relations who might be testing patience levels on those days in and around Christmas. Plants are always a welcome gift for people who are into gardening - perhaps a miniature Apple tree with flowers in Spring and fruit in Autumn, something that can be grown in the ground or in a pot or container - so very versatile - but also very rewarding and easy to grow. Plants tend to be long lasting and something that you’ll be well remembered for you can also consider some beautiful shrubs - Camellias are in bud at this time of the year, Skimmias are covered with buds or berries, Viburnums, Mahonias, Hollies all look good at this time of the year. Roses, although not in flower, can be a very welcome gift - you could give a small collection of roses which are all fine for planting at this time of the year but can be left in their pots until the person is ready for planting but come mid Summer when they come in to bloom you will be well regarded - it’s certainly a gift that keeps on giving - lots of different varieties and colours available - so certainly easy to select the type to suit your recipient. A good quality tool can make the job at hand so much more enjoyable and more likely to be done, brands like True Temper and Darlac tend to have really good quality tools and a really good range, secateurs are always a welcome gift for all gardeners or a decent hand trowel  - the Capability Trowel is an example of a “Swiss Army Knife” of a trowel- its made from high quality stainless steel it’s got a serrated edge for weeding and opening up compost bags, the top can be used for hammering, it has an accurate planting depth scale and a pointed tip for tough soils - this is a great all round tool and it comes with a 20 year guarantee - so for planting or weeding and general use all round the garden this will be a very welcome gift. You could also consider a wild bird hamper - perhaps a selection of different feeds - Nyger seed, sunflower hearts, peanuts, seed mix, mealworms and a range of feeders to suit or perhaps a feeding station which is a collection of feeders that hang from a central pole - this makes a great way to view the range of birds visiting your home and helps to connect people to nature in a real beneficial way. Something else worth considering is a nice collection of Wildflower Seeds to create a wildflower meadow - easy to grow - you can plant in Spring or Autumn - and create a haven for bees and butterflies and add a welcome splash of colour to any garden - lots of different colour combinations and varieties to choose from and again a memorable gift and doing your bit for biodiversity and the environment.

Another very popular option are Gift Vouchers -  people love to spend someone else's money! and people love gift vouchers for garden centers, they tend to treat themselves to stuff that they really want or have had on their wish list for a long time, so rest assured if you give someone who likes gardening a gift voucher for a garden centre, they will be delighted and they are sure to let you know what they bought for themselves thanks to your gift. Our own vouchers don’t go out of date and can be bought to any value. A handy one if you’re calling around to friends or neighbours is a nice Planted Arrangement - lots of garden centres will have lots of pre planted bowls and containers with a beautiful seasonal collection of plants, lots of them starting at under €20 - so affordable and something that looks great.

A few jobs for the week ahead;

  • Rake up accumulated fallen leaves in borders that could be harbouring slugs and other pests and any that might be covering the lawn.
  • Keep those garden song birds in mind - put out a good mix of different bird feed to attract a diverse range of birds - they’ll certainly appreciate it in this cold weather.
  • Prune climbing roses between now and February.
  • Plant fragrant Winter shrubs in pots on the doorsteps, including, Sarcococca and Daphne we mentioned in last weeks program.
  • Plenty of bareroot hedging, trees and fruit plants available now - great for getting extra value and ideal time to get them in the ground.