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"It is better to give than receive," by the Whistling Gardener

The Whistling Gardener shares some of his favorite gift ideas for the gardener in your life.  Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.
The Whistling Gardener shares some of his favorite gift ideas for the gardener in your life. Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Nursery.

This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.

Truly, I say unto thee, it is better to give than to receive, especially when it comes to gifts for the gardener. There is no better feeling than sharing the joy for a special plant or tool or book with a fellow gardener knowing or at least hoping that the recipient will derive as much pleasure out of the gift as you have received owning the very same thing. 

If I was giving any of you a gift this is what I might consider:

A greenhouse:  Yes, owning a greenhouse is a ton of fun.  I know this because I happen to own over 15,000 square feet of them which is perhaps a few more square feet than most of us would know what to do with but even a small 6 X 6 structure can bring a lot of pleasure to the gardener. 

There is something magical about being inside a greenhouse where the air is rich in oxygen and you are surrounded by the emergence of new life in the form of seedlings sprouting or cuttings taking root or just an overwintered geranium in full bloom. 

If I was unsure how much of a gardening enthusiast you were I might give you a little starter greenhouse for under $50 that while only around 2 feet deep, 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall has 4-5 shelves that you can pack a ton of stuff on. 

If I wanted to really get you hooked I would splurge on a 6 feet by 6 feet walk-in popup clear plastic unit for around $150. This is the perfect size for starting out and I can guarantee that after a couple of years you will be building your own permanent structure because you will have outgrown your 6 by 6 unit.

A quality tool:  A well-designed tool makes the whole gardening experience so much more pleasurable. When it comes to weeding I could not survive without my Hula-Hoe and Cape Cod Weeder and at under $30 it would give me great pleasure to give a gardening friend such a tool (I would even throw in a personal demonstration of how to use it come spring). 

As for pruning, I have discovered the Zenport brand that builds commercial tools, many of which are patterned after the Swiss-made Felco pruners but at half the price.  For $40 I wouldn’t hesitate giving a pair of these quality pruners to one of my best gardening friends. 

A good hose:  Not too glamorous perhaps but nothing is more frustrating than a cheap hose that kinks all the time.  While most gardeners would never spend $75 on a hose for themselves I think we all would be delighted to receive one from someone else. 

Dramm makes a solid rubber hose for about $75 that comes in multiple colors and will last a lifetime.  I know this because I own two red ones that match the trim on my house.

A plant:  Selecting plants for a gardening friend can be difficult.  I have my favorites that I think every gardener should also have but they might not feel the same so my strategy is to give a gift certificate with the caveat that the two of us will go to the nursery and share the experience together.

Garden show tickets:  Last but not least, nothing takes the blues away like a trip to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February.  For under $20 each, I wouldn’t think twice about giving a gardening friend a couple of these, one for them and hopefully one for me!

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

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