This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.
We are getting down to the wire folks and if you still need a few more ideas on what to get that special gardener in your life (or yourself for that matter) then read on.
A GREENHOUSE—while I mentioned last time that most gardeners lust for a greenhouse the truth is that many of us lack the skills to build one or the handy spouse to do it for us. Not to worry. www.Flowerhouses.com sells tidy little pop-up models that set up just like a tent. A 6 by 6 foot model sells for around $200. They also make a “Harvest House” version that has metal shelving built into the frame which is really slick. The Harvest House is a 3 in 1 model with three different coverings, clear plastic for growing early in the season, screen for shade and better air flow in the summer and finally a dark covering to turn the house into a storage shed. The Harvest House runs around $300. You can find these assembled at most garden centers.
WIND CHIMES—there is nothing quite as soothing as a well-designed wind chime and the absolute best on the market are made by Music of the Spheres who bill themselves as the Stradivarius of Chimes. They are all tuned to be musically accurate so the individual chimes will compliment each other. They start at just under $100 and go up from there.
GARDEN BENCHES—every gardener needs a place to sit down in the garden to relax and catch their breath or to just contemplate life. Garden benches come in cedar, metal or concrete and there is enough variety that one can usually find something to fit the mood of the garden. Prices range from around $100 to $250.
BIRD FEEDERS—birds are an essential part of the gardening experience and this is the time of year when our feathered friends depend on us to help them get through the winter. Feeders can range from under $10 to more than any of us would want to pay but for the mid twenties there are some nice choices that will make the birds happy and dress up the garden at the same time. Don’t forget to include some seed and suet with your gift.
KIDS TOOLS—True Temper makes a line of what they call REAL TOOLS FOR KIDS that are made in America and are actually sturdy enough to hold up for more than a week. For around $10 each you can get a garden rake, hoe, shovel or leaf rake (the leaf rake is plastic) and they are all painted bright colors so junior can find them when you tell him to put them away in the shed.
MOISTURE METERS—moisture meters have seen many incarnations over the years but www.thirstylight.com has come up with a good idea. Their meter has a blinking light that goes on when your plant needs a drink. While this is a vast improvement over the old needle versions I am still waiting for the model that blares out a dry hacking cough or a gurgling sound depending on how dry or wet the soil is. In the mean time you will have to settle for the Thirsty Light model which sells for around $15.
Well that’s it for this week. Hopefully I have provided you with some good ideas for your Christmas list that you can conveniently place around the house or email to your kids just in time for the holiday.
Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at email@example.com.