A gardener’s wish list

A gardener’s wish list


I have always subscribed to the notion that the best gifts to give are the ones I want to keep for myself. The only trouble is so much of what I want is garden-related and not all of the people I know are gardeners — yet. But you are. And I’m sure I will find it almost as gratifying to share my wish list with you and your secret Santa (leave the paper out, open to this page and draw smiley faces and arrows to the applicable bits) than to buy everything on it for myself. Which, of course, is absolutely forbidden this time of year.
I have wanted a hand fork ever since a fellow gardener mentioned that they were hard to find (I’m always game for a challenge) and better than a trowel for breaking up and planting in stony East Bay soil. I never imagined that anything would dig as well as my Dutch-made, hand-forged, sharp-edged, heart-shaped Sneeboer trowel but think the shiny, unbendable-looking fork made by the same company must be worth a try. And I bet it would fit as snuggly as the trowel does, in my back pocket… Or yours.
Speaking of pockets, if I were handy with needle and thread, this Christmas all of my family and friends would rock a canvas waist apron. The pockets would be gusseted for easy reaching in while crouching, and commodious enough to hold all of the things we never want to run back to the kitchen or shed for, such as a pair of gloves, a roll of twine, a notebook and pencil, and seed collection envelopes. I’m pretty sure the knitters, cooks, and readers on my list would find it useful too. And very fashion-forward.
Fingerless mittens are all the rage already and one can never have too many pairs this time of year. Can’t have too many pocket-sized notebooks either for jotting observations and ideas in the garden (and out of it) and making endless lists. Plus a pen that writes in the rain. Or a box of golf pencils.
It isn’t just because my favorite terracotta planter hit the floor last week that I find myself coveting containers. I happened to notice a handsome display of antiqued terracotta pots in a local nursery and it was all I could do to resist placing all three sizes of the one shaped like a poppy seedhead in my cart. For me. I’ll have to go back when I’m feeling a little stronger to get them for someone — anyone — else.
I never feel guilty about buying memberships for myself because the money goes to support near and dear causes. But membership is also a gift I love to share. Public gardens and arboretums provide endless opportunity for exploration and inspiration and membership includes benefits such as reciprocal access to other inspiring places and discounts at supporting businesses and for attending programs and events. Membership in a plant society (such as Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, The North American Rock Garden Society, the Rhode Island Rose or Dahlia Societies) usually comes with periodic publications devoted to your favorite subject and if you’re socially inclined, the chance to hobnob, share seeds, plants, and ideas with kindred spirits. Membership might not look like much under the tree but it stays shiny and new all year long.
Call it shameless self-promotion but I have to add my forthcoming book to this list too — because I wrote it for you. Unfortunately though, IOUs don’t look like much under the tree either. The good thing is, if you want a copy, by the time it’s released to bookstores sometime in January it’ll be perfectly permissible to treat yourself.

Kristin Green is the interpretive horticulturist at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum and has written their garden blog since 2007. Her first book, “Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants that Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter” published by Timber Press, will be released in January. Follow Kristin’s garden blog at http://blog.blithewold.org.