Down in the Garden: Vegan Gardening
DOWN IN THE GARDEN: Kids in the Garden

Down in the Garden: Christmas Gift Guide

ChristmasHave you got a gardening friend? Are you a gardener looking for a hint to give to your family? Well, I’ve wrapped up a bunch of the most interesting of gifts for all budgets and all different types of plants lovers.

For the ‘I Want to Start Gardening’ Gardener
*A gardening journal is an excellent present for those beginning their steps into the botanical world. Look for one with gardening tips in it. 
*Everyone should have a good gardening hat. Find one to suit their style and make sure it offers sun protection. This could be anything from a wide brim straw hat (my favourite) to a bucket hat.
*You can’t get enough knowledge as well as up to date information so apart from encouraging them to read my column, you might want to gift the new gardener a magazine subscription.

Book: ‘Australian Geographic Gardening School’, Simon Akeroyd and Ross Bayton is simply brilliant for those venturing into the garden for the first time or wanting to renew their skills. Although it does drive deep into the technical aspects of gardening, it does so in an easy to read way.

For the ‘Houseplants are Everything’ Gardener
*Houseplant people cannot get enough pots. Just make sure they have drainage holes and for goodness sake, make sure the pot/s match their decor perfectly.
*Is this houseplant person very special in your life? Then a larger cactus might be on their wish list, so are rare plants but a large cactus is far easier to track down this close to the big day.
*Encourage your indoor plant guru to start propagation of their prized treasures. There are ready made kits out there or you could make up a kit yourself from supplies. Not sure how to do that? Ask one of the lovely staff at our many gardening centres.
Book: There seems to be a new houseplant book coming out every other day and I don’t think this is a bad thing as it encourages people to get into gardening (I’ve written one myself! Apart from mine, ‘The Language of Houseplants’, Cheralyn Darcey; I really love The Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Practical Houseplant Book’, Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway as it not only shares 175 in-depth plant profiles, there are lots of general indoor growing tips and clever ideas to show off your houseplants within.

For the ‘I’m Saving the Planet’ Gardener
*A basket weaving class or online course is a wonderful idea for those who are crafty eco-warriors. Using up the fallen botanical materials in the garden to create something new should appeal to them. I can personally recommend any course from as I’ve done them.

*Native beehives are a must to protect and encourage our precious naïve bees. They are readily available from most garden centres and you might like to create you own for your nature-passionate friend. Instructions can easiest be found online, search: DIY native beehive.  
*Paper pot making kit. These consist of two wooden parts that help twist newspapers into a small pot. Once seeds germinate and the seedling is established, you simply plant the whole pot.
Book: ‘Milkwood’ Kristen Bradley and Nick Ritar is probably one of the more recent and inspiring works for those wishing to garden with more care of the earth.

For the ‘I Kill Everything but I Want a Garden’ Gardener
*An indoor smart garden. These can be found in lots of sizes and are made up of a hydroponic growing system that includes a light, pot and usually the growing medium and nutrients.
*A beautiful watering can may be a subtle hint, but it might just give your brown-thumbed, but garden-interested mate, more motivation to keep their plants watered.
*Are you a gardening guru? They why not gift them your time. Make up a gift certificate for one-on-one gardening lessons from you. An alternative is a gardening class or course online or in person.  
Book: ‘Top 50 Edible Plants and How Not to Kill Them’ Angie Thomas is a Yates gardening guide just for them!  

For the ‘Foodie-Master Chef’ Gardener
*Harvesting baskets are such lovely and handy items and make practical gifts as well. They can be found in lots of materials and sizes. Look for one that is perhaps a little sturdier for the kitchen gardener. 
*If they don’t have one, a raised garden bed may just be the ticket to creating a kitchen garden. With so many styles out there, I’m sure you will find one perfect to get them growing.
*Although I’ve used lots of different containers to hold my kitchen scraps while they are awaiting their journey to the compost bin, I am a fan of the purpose-built compost bucket. Most have a charcoal filter and inner removable bucket. You might also want to consider an indoor compost bin for those with limited space. These do the composting right there within the bin.
Book: ‘Matthew Bigg’s Complete Book of Vegetables in Australia’ describes itself as the definitive sourcebook for growing, harvesting and cooking vegetables and it is right. Highly recommend book for all actually.

For the ‘Mystical and Meditative’ Gardener
*How about a tinkling set of wind chimes?  Soothing and beautiful they can be found in endless designs to match the taste of your gardening friend and their space.  
*A sundial would be a brilliant gift and can be found in all sorts of sizes. Don’t worry about how it works, I’m sure your magical friend will know how or where to find that information.
*A Zen garden. Those Japanese-inspired trays filled with sand, stones and a rake are much appreciated by the mind, body, spirit focused.

Book: ‘The Art of Mindful Gardening’ Ark Redwood is a lovely title that explores the healing and mediative aspects of gardening. Another book I think this type of gardener would enjoy is ‘The Garden Apothecary’ by Reece Carter which is a fantastic resource for those wanting to create their own herbal remedies.

For the ‘Art and Craft is Life’ Gardener
*One of the best things I found this year was a set of metal alphabet stamps so I could create my own metal garden label stakes. They can be found in hardware and craft stores.  
*It might be getting a bit late to order this but have a look for custom stamp creators or if you are arty/craft as well, get the carving tools out and create a personalised stamp reading something like ‘from the garden of….’. This is a great idea for those who garden and create things from it.
*A plain terracotta pot and a selection of suitable art materials such as weather-proof paints or markers so they can make their own garden art masterpiece would be much appreciated.
‘The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling’ by John Muir Laws is a drawing course in a book and one that has been the foundation of many modern botanical artists.

For the ‘I’m not sure why I’m not on Gardening Australia yet’ Gardener
*There are lots of very gorgeous gardening labelling stakes to be found in metals, ceramics and weather-proof timbers. Find a style that suits your gardening friend and their garden and home.
*Have I told you how much I adore gardening hand balms and creams? Well for the gardening obsessed in your life this is a very thoughtful gift. My favourites include Aveeno Intensive Relief Hand Cream, L’Occitane Intensive Hand Balm and The Body Shop Hemp Hand Cream.
*Most of us have stopped using reusable coffee cups this year due to COVID but you know who needs them? Gardeners! We don’t want bugs in our drinks so look for a garden-themed lidded mug, cup or water bottle.
Book: I bet they share loads of pictures of their garden on social media or if they don’t, you could hop on over and take a bunch of photos and create a handmade scrapbook of their garden or even create a hardbound book at one of the stores that offer this service. A great read for the holidays for the master gardener is ‘Banks’ by Grantlee Kieza. It is a new biography that any garden and plant lover will appreciate.

For the ‘I may be young, but I can do it’ Gardener

*Children love inviting friendly creatures into the garden, so a bird house is a lovely idea. Buy a ready-made one or better yet one they can make or decorate themselves.
*Dress up is loved by most children so a gardening apron and gloves are not only essential to protect the little ones, they will also bring a sense of play time and excitement to gardening.
*Pets! The best gardening pets are worms and if you gift a child their own worm farm, they will love you forever and so will their garden.
Book: ‘Easy Peasy Gardening for Kids’, Kirsten Bradley and illustrated by Aitch is a beautiful introduction to gardening for children that not only explains how to garden but also shares lots of practical and fun activities.

Chritmas screen

A few other ideas to suit everyone:
wishing well, seed raising kit, heirloom seeds, a flower press, beekeeping course, bees, native edible food plant, a bird bath, a bird window feeder, a compost bin, a garden gnome, garden sculpture or art, personalised signage, kneeling pad, seed storage tin,  boot scrapers, gardening boots/shoes, houseplant display stand, mushroom growing kit, birdbath, watering globes for houseplants, tool basket or trug, seed bombs or cannons and if you really can’t decide then nothing say ‘I love you and know you love gardening’ like a gift card from one of your local gardening centres.

(early Summer, temperate areas) 
This week you can also plant the following: culinary herbs, beans, beetroot, blueberry, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celery, chicory, cress, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leeks, lettuce, marrow, melons, mustard, okra, spring onions, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, rosella, salsify, shallots, silverbeet, squashes, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini, ageratum, alyssum, amaranths, aster, begonia (bedding), California poppy, coleus, cosmos, carnation, dianthus, gazania, gerbera, gypsophila, marigold, petunias, phlox, portulaca, lobelia, love-in-a-mist, lupin, nasturtium, nemesia, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragons, sunflowers, vinca, 

Cheralyn Darcey is a gardening author, community garden educator at and along with Pete Little, hosts ‘At Home with The Gardening Gang’ 8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM963, on air locally or download the app:
Archived articles can be found on Cheralyn’s Blog:

Send your gardening questions, events, and news to: [email protected]