The Cambrian

Let these gift ideas for gardeners take root as you shop for the holidays

Poinsettia plants make wonderful gifts for gardeners.
Poinsettia plants make wonderful gifts for gardeners. Special to The Cambrian

Buying for gardeners and those who are “not so much” is easy. Each year I have to buy a gift for The Cambria Garden Club’s gift exchange. I ponder what I can give as a holiday gift to these unique beings. Looking around the shops in Cambria, I see a variety of items that would delight gardeners and those who appreciate the out of doors.

Gardeners are sensuous beings, using all the senses as they design their gardens and work with the earth and outdoor surroundings. They love color and design and lovely smells indoors and out. There are shops here in Cambria that specialize in aromatic items.

Gardeners observe shadows and reflections of light. They appreciate design in topiary and bonsai plants. They delight in light-reflecting objects placed strategically in the garden, waving banners, as well as weathervanes, hanging crystals and globes.

Gardeners are tactile people. When talking about their garden, they speak of the texture of leaves, sun on their shoulders, and the cool earth beneath their feet. Gardeners love ponds, birdbaths, sculptures, and the comfort of a bench or chair where they can relax and absorb their surroundings. They love herbs and entertaining.

Gardeners often have a heightened sense of smell (I don’t have research on this; just guessing). They adore the headiness of a rose, the intense fragrance of jasmine. “Gardener types” on your list will love natural soaps, lotions, sprigs of lavender and candles that bring the fragrance of the outdoors, in.

Gardeners are sensitive to sounds; wind in the trees, wind chimes hanging on an arbor, trickling water in a fountain, the music of rain chains. Bird-attracting objects make great gifts for gardeners. Cambria’s gardens are resplendent with homemade birdhouses and feeders; we have much-appreciated craft people here. Folk art wooden clappers claim to repel gophers. Effective or not, they delight the young and old.

Gardeners love tools — especially tools that remove weeds, without any effort, and permanently! Quality gloves are always appreciated. Gardeners are always looking for the newest garden instrument to make life easier.

Gardeners love living gifts, and there are plenty to be found in our local nurseries and succulent shop this time of year. Forced bulbs such as hyacinths, paper white narcissus, amaryllis and tulips are most appreciated. Indoor plants such as caladium, common coleus, prayer plant and Christmas cactus make colorful gifts. Outdoors, camellias, pelargonium, winter heaths, dwarf conifers, gardenias and small trees will give for a lifetime.

Lastly, gardeners like to eat! In fact, almost everyone I know likes to eat. Be selective in choosing gifts that are edible. Small is better. Years ago, a college-age son brought a Virginia smoked ham home in his suitcase. Need I say more? There are many stores here with wine, cheeses, jams, teas and delectables that make wonderful gifts, whether or not you are a gardener.

The variety of gifts appropriate for gardeners is abundant in Cambria this time of year. Buy a gift for a gardener, a nongardener, or buy something for yourself. Most importantly choose something that lets the person know that thought went into it.

Lee Oliphant’s column is special to The Cambrian.

Tip of the Month

Were you able to find paper white narcissus in the nursery this year? If so, get them to bloom and fill your house with fragrance by filling a shallow bowl with a bed of pebbles covered with water. Place bulbs on top of the rocks and keep moist.

A stately hyacinth bulb is a much-appreciated gift, no matter the color. It grows best in a vase made for this purpose. Add water to the base of the vase and the hyacinth on top. Place the container in a cool dark place until it fills with roots. Move the container to a cool bright space and enjoy the magic.