THE SKATING RINK is up and lit, families are engaging in holiday activities, all the spring bulbs are planted and for most of us our thoughts have turned to Thanksgiving.
Since this weekend is the biggest time to holiday shop, and we only have four weeks this year to complete this task, here is your Black Friday list of perfect botanical gifts sure to please any gardener:
1. Happy Feet — super warm, insulated, waterproof boots are a delight. If you don’t know their size, price them and provide them a gift certificate in that amount.
I like the Bog Brands and often combine them with Super Feet insoles.
Ankle-high boots for plain rainy days.
For in the mud, mid-high boots.
But remember happy feet make a happy gardener.
Cold, wet feet are worse than horsetails.
2. Orchard ladder — now here is a real treat for the would-be pruner.
What good is that nice new pruner and orchard saw when all you have to stand on is a 5 gallon pail?
Orchard ladders are very strong, three-legged ladders designed for uneven ground that use a third leg for closeness into tree limbs.
They are a must for any serious pruning.
Get aluminum ones, they are very lightweight and thus easy to move around.
3. Low-voltage lights — landscape lights, accent lighting and solar-powered night sky-friendly walkway lights make the perfect gift for showing off the pruned evergreens or identifying steps along the pathway.
Be aware of light casting off your property, so as not to cause the neighbors to close their blinds and purse their lips, thanking you for your thoughtfulness when they’re outdoors envying the star-filled skies, all while you enjoy the great evening accent light of your landscape.
4. Dump truck loads — if you really have a gardening aficionado, then the perfect gift would be a big pile of any essential gardening building block.
No gardener (or new homeowner) would be upset about getting a load of premium grade topsoil or, even better, a load of leaf mold, aged black manure or fine decomposed mulch.
The gardener who is always building would love a load of rock, crushed gravel for a path or river stone for a dry creek.
A 5-yard delivery usually costs $82 to $150.
A 10-yard truck load is $140 to $275 delivered.
Call local landscape supply yards for details on gift certificates.
5. Loppers — loppers are just pruners on steroids.
Long handles give leverage for cutting thick branches.
Make sure to get heavy duty or professional grade.
Loppers are $45 to $100.
These are a must for any serious pruning job.
6. Five gallon buckets — buckets become my second set of hands, managing mulch, fertilizers, tools and carrying seed packets with stake markers back to the garden plot.
If you feel generous, you can fill the bucket with new gardening gloves, a crevice tool (looks like a cross between a horse hoof pick and a miniature golf putter) or a gift certificate to their favorite gardening store.
7. Live Christmas tree — why not go to your favorite nursery and pick out some superb specimens known for growth characteristics or color?
These trees can be expensive, so wrap it as a gift card and have it outdoors and ready to plant.
The Christmas tree will become the best plant in your yard for years to come. An excellent variety would be evergreens such as
• Cryptomeria japonica
• Elgans, a beautiful red with leathery foliage
• Chamecyparis lawsoniana “Thai Temple” (outstanding, pendulous yellow)
• Pinus strobus glauca pendula (weeping white pine) for some favorites such as the gorgeous blue cedrus Atlantica glauca pendula.
• And I just love Blue Spruce or Turkish firs.
8. Orchard saw — I cannot sing enough praises about the orchard saw, the poor man’s (insert “real smart man’s”) chainsaw.
These curved saws are designed to be up in the trees, quickly cutting off branches in the hardest to reach areas.
Stihl has pruning saws that fold or fit into a sheath.
With its curved blade, an orchard saw makes small work of big branches up to 5 to 7 inches in diameter.
The saw runs $39 to $60.
Buy two, including the smaller retractable-blade variety that can fit in your pocket.
Perfect gifts for someone with an orchard ladder.
9. Road trip — to really appreciate the wide range of dining trees such as those listed above, go with your honey or family on a weekend extravaganza to Victoria, B.C., and Butchart Gardens, or view the drop dead gorgeous, largest light show at the Bellevue Botanical Garden near Seattle or Point Defiance zoo lights near Tacoma.
These places will truly inspire you in the art of light sculptures and your yard. This gift is one of inspiration and a great way to spend quality time with family and friends.
10. Amaryllis bulbs — amaryllis bulbs are my company’s signature flower.
A strange, huge bulb just sitting there and then, bam! This stalk, which is just a big bud, starts growing an inch a day.
They finish in an array of large flowers (usually four) atop a leafless, 2-foot stalk.
They are fail-safe and a perfect science project for young ones, also as an ideal stocking stuffer.
11. Atlas rubber dip gloves — these gardening gloves breathe, don’t stink and are incredibly flexible and agile so you can still button shirts, plant tiny seedlings or handle heavy tools and equipment.
You can even get bright-orange, heavy-lined pairs that can easily be found when dropped or misplaced.
12. Magical/mystical PDN garden bus — if the ultimate garden party is your desire, then a seat on the annual garden bus to the Seattle Northwest Flower and Garden Show is an absolute must.
This day long all-expense, eating, drinking gardening bus is just the ticket and the tickets are only $115 per person, or $220 for a couple.
So please join me for a rolling garden class and party on Feb. 26, 2020.
This luxury bus sells out early and we are already over a third full.
Look out — this may be the only notice.
Call me at home (360) 417-1639 and leave a message to get your seat on the bus.
To everyone, happy Thanksgiving.
May you be surrounded by friends and family, and have much to be thankful for.
Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).