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Minter: Last-minute Christmas gift suggestions

When it comes to gardening gifts, passionate gardeners are very particular, so here are some suggestions that you might find helpful.
Bird Feeder

The following column was submitted to the Tri-City News from Brian Minter — master gardener, best-selling author, Order of Canada recipient and co-owner of Minter Country Garden Store.


When it comes to gardening gifts, passionate gardeners are very particular, so here are some suggestions that you might find helpful.

If your gardener has a greenhouse of any size, accessories, such as heating mats, quality watering equipment (like the world-famous English Hawes watering cans), and maximum-minimum thermometers are always appreciated.

Attracting wildlife to gardens has become quite a trend these days. 

Birdbaths, feeders and birdhouses are great gifts for children and shut-ins. With Anna’s hummingbirds staying around during the winter, a vintage glass hummingbird feeder is a practical and attractive gift. Heaters for hummingbird feeders are also available to use during cold weather.

Creating bee habitats is an important issue today. Mason bee houses are an important start, and the process of colonizing mason bees is fascinating. The bees, normally available in garden centres starting in February, are essential pollinators in gardens and most eco-systems. A gift certificate for mason bees is a wonderful idea.

There are a whole host of gardening gift ideas from gardeners' soap and richly toned wind chimes to quality ergonomically designed tools for ease of use. 

Treat the gardeners on your list to high-quality Corona pruners that will serve them for years to come. A gift card to a favourite gardening store is also a valued treasure. Garden makeovers are all the rage today, and a gift certificate for a quality garden designer is also a wonderful gift.

Research has revealed that of all the gifts people receive, flowers make folks the happiest. Long-lasting and perfumed Christmas bouquets with seasonal fragrant greens are a real treat anytime over the Christmas season.

Gardeners love plants best of all, and there are some wonderful new hardy plants they can enjoy in the late fall and winter. The new ‘Gold Collection’ Christmas rose (Helleborus niger), winter-blooming jasmine, viburnums and winter-blooming camellias, especially ‘Yuletide’, are fabulous. Peeling bark maples, coral bark maples and contorted willows are a joy in winter. 

Tickets to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle this coming February would be a welcome gift. Tickets can be purchased online. Tickets or season passes to some of our wonderful Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island gardens would also be a splendid idea.

Most gardeners appreciate something unique and different. Quality and usefulness are perhaps the two most important criteria to keep in mind. 

I hope this helps.