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Marin IJ Articles

‘Tis the Season – Garden Lovers Gift Ideas!

  • Jane Scurich
  • Shopping for my gardening friends is always so much fun! While we each have our own unique garden personalities, we do share in our joy of nature, and the amazing beauty and variety of plant materials available to enhance our landscape. And often, we enjoy an opportunity to remove our well-worn garden gloves and visit spectacular botanical collections. The holiday season offers so many options to honor and gift our gardening buddies.

    While our local garden centers are well stocked with gloves, tools, seeds, baskets, bowls, blooming holiday plants and soon to arrive, bare root roses, I have some additional suggestions to fill your lucky gardener’s stocking with neat treats.
    The Marin Rose Society is offering its first "Pruning Roses in Your Garden" fundraiser. Rose society experts will come to your home and prune your roses in January. I had the pleasure of spending a day in the garden with a local rosarian a couple of Januarys ago and I am so impressed by the breadth of their knowledge. Please call Florence Taylor at 415 454-3870 or email nonitaylor@aol.com to purchase a gift certificate for your favorite rose lover to enjoy having a professional prune the rose garden and offer valuable growing advice. Prices start at $4 a bush with a minimum charge of $40 per garden. (Personally, I’m not waiting for Santa to deliver this treat—I’m booking my pruning now).

    Marin Master Gardeners have penned a collective anthology to aid and inspire the local gardener. "Bay area gardens require a special green thumb to cope with the variety of climates, soils and diversity of plants. These Bay area gardeners have the savvy to guide you to a successful garden experience" —comments by Helen Heitkamp, Regional Editor, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. Bay Area Gardening, Practical Essays by Master Gardeners, can be ordered at http://cemarin.ucdavis.edu/Master_Gardener/Bay_Area_Gardening_-_The_Book.htm or by calling the Master Gardener desk, 415 499-4204. Pick up the book at the Master Gardener office, 1682 Novato Boulevard, Suite 150-B, Novato for $10 or order online for $15.

    Gardening Among Friends: 65 Practical Essays by Master Gardeners is locally written and offers advice on gardening in our unique Mediterranean inspired micro climates.
    I absolutely love the very attractive bypass pruner and other garden tools manufactured in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. These tools are well-priced and elegantly packaged gifts. The home and garden tools come in a variety of William Morris prints. The Victoria and Albert Museum receives royalties from the sale of these items, which helps to underwrite its free admission policy.I found the pruners available locally at Fancy That, 47 Tamalpais Boulevard, Corte Madera, 92 for $26. For those of you who prefer to shop from home, visit Berkeley’s Bay Flora at www.bayflora.com. When you shop at Bay Flora, they will make a gift of up to 15% of your purchase price to the nonprofit organization of your choice and include a beautiful letterpress gift card including your personal message.
    Have you checked out the new Golden Gate Express Garden Railway exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers? The historic Victorian conservatory has four galleries filled with tropical plants and a fifth gallery now exhibiting a lush miniature garden surrounding some of San Francisco’s most cherished landmarks, all connected by model trains. A gift of a “Jungle Pass” will admit two adults and two children unlimited times for one full year. Order online at www.conservatoryofflowers.org or purchase at the Guest Services kiosk. The gift shop is filled with thoughtful gifts for the plant lover including Gorgeous Garden Railways by Marc Horovitz and Pat Hayward, a book that will inspire your gardening buddy to incorporate a railway in the landscape.
    While you’re in the park, stop by the San Francisco Botanical Garden bookstore for a staggering variety of floral calendars, posters and books on a myriad of botanical topics. "Just inside the botanical garden in Golden Gate Park sits this tiny trove of inspiration for lovers of the natural world," says Mary McDonnell of San Francisco. "There are references for botanists and gardeners, field guides, and children’s books tucked in a corner. If you’re a lover of books and plants, it’s a candy store." The bookstore is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    The magnificent 654 acre Filoli estate offers gift memberships that begin at only $50 per year and offer an enticing range of benefits including unlimited free visits to the House, garden and nature hikes. To purchase a gift membership contact the Filoli Membership Office at 650 364-8300, extension 508. Gift memberships are not currently available for purchase online.
    Many of our plant loving friends have no room for even one more tiny book, bulb, or floral calendar. Please consider a gift “in honor” of your garden loving friend. Our local plant societies, botanical gardens and living museums rely on donations to keep them vibrant and engaging. A gift in honor of a lover of plants and flowers will provide much needed resources for our local botanical nonprofits.
    A number of us will need to reassess our financial giving situation this year—what a wonderful time to consider a gift from the heart—and my heart abides in the garden. Do you have a coveted geranium? Perhaps you can root a cutting for a favorite friend. But think beyond a plant—consider offering your services to repot a houseplant, create an entryway container or cut back perennials. This is a wonderful time to think of innovative ways to give of yourself, your time and your expertise to enhance an indoor or outdoor garden for a friend or loved one.
    Best wishes for a joyous holiday filled with garden treats!