THE festive season is upon us, and it is time to consider gifts for the gardeners in our lives! Gardeners are practical and creative people and this provides plenty of scope for choosing gifts.
A healthy house plant is a great gift which can be used to adorn shelves, window sills, bathrooms and conservatories.
Different plants have different light, water and nutrient requirements and usually all this information will be included on a plant label accompanying , making directions for the care of it a bit easier.
Most house plants we grow originate from more tropical climates, many requiring high temperatures to survive and some high humidity.
House plants can be challenged at this time of year once the central heating goes into full use, so do keep an eye on them for water, drying out too much and generally looking unhappy. Move locations if this occurs.
Introducing a house plant as a present may be the start of a person’s gardening journey.
Some of the best for ease of care are the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) with its spider-like offspring dangling down from the mother plant. These require little care and will do well in most indoor conditions.
The peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp) is another plant that will tolerate a minimum of attention and produces glossy green leaves and lily like flowers.
Succulents like aeoniums, crassulas, echeveria and sempervivum make great house plants and need a minimum of watering and attention.
Most houseplants will not survive outdoors in our climate in the winter as the lower temperatures would kill them. It is, however, a good idea to give them some time outdoors in the summer months when temperatures are more favourable, particularly at night time. This helps to unclog the stomata on the under-surface of the leaves which may get a little dusty if indoors for lengthy periods of time.
These are used for exchange of gases in the process of photosynthesis and are essential to the health of the plant and the air.
Luckily, in the last year a lot of garden centres have created online shops so items can be selected and paid for online and delivered to your door.
Hand tools are always useful, particularly good quality ones that will last the test of time. Having a good, hand fork, trowel and secateurs in the arsenal is essential to maintaining the garden.
A plentiful supply of buckets, a good wheelbarrow, digging fork and spade are all high up there as well.
Howbert and Mays have a chain of garden centres in the greater Dublin area and an online shop with a great range of hand tools and everything else garden related.
The Pavillion garden centre in Ballygarvan have a great range of Christmas decorations, pots, outdoor plants and indoor plants, bulbs and all kinds of garden furniture. They also have a lovely restaurant where most of the food is prepared in house, making this a great destination for a visit - good food and shopping under one roof, who could resist!
If a visit is not possible, they also have an online shop where items can be purchased and delivered.
Not all smaller garden centres have an online presence so why not pay a visit and be inspired by Christmas displays and in store stock? It has never been more important to support local small businesses.
Accessories that make gardening a little easier are always a joy. A good kneeler is a welcome addition for creaking knees. The Spear and Jackson Kew 5 layer kneeler or Kew 3 layer knee pads were voted No.1 and No.3 in a product test on kneelers by Country Living Magazine in 2020.
They can make different tasks in the garden more enjoyable and enable us to work for longer periods. It is also important to protect the knees and keep them dry to avoid even more creaking as the years go on.
A compost bin can make a great gift and start somebody out on a new composting trail, recycling garden waste and creating compost for use in the garden. Gloves are always a useful gift and there are many to choose from and different types required, depending upon the job.
Insulated gloves are good for dealing with thorns and heavier work and Stihl thermogrip gloves are a timely option for winter work in colder conditions, with their thick layer of insulation helping on colder days in the garden.
Happy Christmas Shopping!