The holidays are upon us, and busy schedules often send us into a panic when looking for the perfect gift for those on our list. No matter your budget, there are affordable gift options your friends and family will love.
Tools are always a welcome gift. Most gardeners are reluctant to invest in that cool new hand trowel, shovel or rake. And that’s what makes them a great gift. Or create a starter kit from your extra tools for a new homeowner or gardener. Clean them up, sharpen the blades and bundle them with a bow. Add a gift card from a nearby garden center if your budget allows.
Help your favorite gardener avoid skin cancer and protect their hands when working in the garden by creating a garden basket with gloves, a hat and sunscreen.
Clean up a corner of the basement or spare bedroom to create a seed starting station. Purchase the lights and fixtures or set a table in front of a sunny window. And if your budget is limited, scour the garage and shed or talk to gardening friends to secure items that can be cleaned and reused.
Or give your favorite gardener all they need to start a windowsill herb garden or terrarium. Purchase or recycle the containers and take cuttings, make divisions or purchase the plants you need.
A trip to the basement or thrift store may provide the perfect vessel for your terrarium. Convert an old aquarium into a tropical biodome. A large clear glass serving dish, salad bowl or vase may make a unique terrarium sure to intrigue the recipient and their guests.
Help your favorite indoor gardener dress up their favorite hanging plants. Macramé is back in vogue and adding flare to indoor gardens. Create a few plant hangers from jute and beads.
Preserve a garden memory with a photo of your or the recipient’s garden or favorite plants. A collection of photos can be made into a calendar for a gift that keeps giving all year long.
Share a bit of your garden. Pass along some seeds you saved or start a few cuttings from your favorite heirloom houseplant. Dress up your gift with a painted pot or basket.
And don’t forget to share some dried herbs and flowers or preserves made from your garden harvest. Nothing tastes better or is more beautiful than when it’s homegrown. Don’t have extra this year? Make a note on next year’s calendar and plan ahead.
Give the gift of time. Most of us can use an extra set of hands at certain times of the garden season. No dusting required and it’s a great way to ensure time together.
Put your artistic skills to work and create a garden journal. A simple notebook dressed up with some photos, artwork or stickers can provide an attractive and inviting place for your favorite gardener to record their gardening successes, failures and other useful garden information.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. And getting friends and family involved in creating these gifts is a great way to enjoy time together while preparing for the holidays.
Melinda Myers has written numerous books, including "Small Space Gardening." She hosts The Great Courses' "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’