Monday, March 24, 2014

How to Love a Gardener: 5 Gift Ideas

I have recently been receiving some very thoughtful and creative gifts from a fellow gardener that have made me feel especially loved and appreciated. I decided to share them and a few other ideas, in case someone -- some would-be gift-giver -- can benefit.  Knowing how to love others well is an art, and we're always learning.

1. Order Plants or Seeds
Receiving a gift in the mail is exciting! Even a gift certificate to a reputable mail-order plant or seed company can send a gardener right to the door of paradise.  The thrill of picking out a new variety to showcase in the garden is a gift itself.  That said, a trip to a local nursery can be just as fun!  Here are a few very reputable companies I have ordered from and enjoyed:
Mountain Valley Growers
Plant Delights
Renee's Garden Seeds
My most recent order from Renee's Garden.

My order last Fall from Mountain Valley - very carefully packaged, and in perfect condition!

2. Gift From Your Own Garden
Learning to propagate the plants from your own garden is one of the many joys of gardening.  Why not share your extra plants with a friend?  I love to trade plants with my friends, so that our gardens can be friendship gardens -- with something to remind us of each other.  This is a very eco-friendly and frugal choice.
Cuttings from some of my favorite plants.  If I can get them to root, I will have dozens of little plants from my garden to share with friends.

You can even divide your houseplants and put them into repurposed containers, like these cowboy boots.  Some gardeners don't have yards, and this is the perfect gift for them.

Seeds saved from a friend's garden for me.  Priceless gifts!
3. MAIL a Gift From Your Own Garden
This, my friends, is a special delight.  Imagine receiving a gift in the mail that is from a friend's garden! My friend sends seeds collected from her spent flowers, and even seedlings and divisions from her garden.  Remember to use some sort of insulation, be it paper mulch, additional layers of cardboard or other, as the shipping process will expose the contents of a box to extreme temperatures.  Suitable stabilization and proper labeling of the package is also necessary to ensure its safe delivery.  All that trouble is certainly appreciated by a gardener recipient!

Clearly, receiving these plants in the mail didn't excite me in the least.

4. Let the Gardener Give You a Tour
For some gardeners, gifts are not as appreciated as words of affirmation or quality time.  Ask a gardener to give you a tour of his or her collection, and listen and ask questions.  If you are not a gardener yourself, this is the perfect choice -- no need to worry about finding a plant or keeping it alive.  And your gardener friend will feel loved!

5. Deliver Mulch
Just before we left NC, my suite-mate from college and her son and husband came and helped me spread a huge load of mulch at our house there so we could rent it.  We were in a huge hurry, so I was doing it myself while my husband was at work, but these people came and did a very large portion of the work with me and FOR me when I had to run an errand.  I will never forget that sweet act of kindness.

Is anyone here an "acts of service" kind of person?  Delivering or helping to spread mulch is a practical and tangible way to express love to a gardener.  Yes, it might smell funny, and you might not look pretty while working, but consider this: mulch is both a beautifier of the garden and a protector of plants.  Mulch helps keep varying moisture and temperature levels from damaging plants, as well as keeps weeds from forming and insulates the earthen environment for worms and microbes (so necessary for soil-building!).  Mulch also eventually breaks down into food for plants.  And you don't have to have a "green thumb" to be able to haul mulch from Point A to Point B!  Now do you see how great this is?

Now go out there and show some love! Do you have any other ideas on how to love a gardener?  Share them!

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