Answering emails: Garden Gift Ideas

CEW August 2016 1cc

“Do you have any gift suggestions for my wife? She’s a die hard gardener and has everything I can imagine…” – Patrick

Hi Patrick,

One of my favorite all-time Christmas gifts is a Missouri Department of Conservation Natural Events Calendar. Besides having major holiday dates for the upcoming year, the calendar includes when hummingbirds migrate, when bears hibernate, when chiggers bite – important developments in nature. These are approximate dates, mind you, although chiggers tend to find me before I see them sneaking up on the calendar.

In addition, there is a monthly list of what native flowers should be in bloom, a handy reference for those of us who try to plant native.

When I give the calendars to family members, I add birthdays and any other major upcoming family event. I have been known to add reminders about something we have discussed, too, such as “call your mother” or “don’t forget your anniversary.” What can I say, once a big sister always a bit of a pain.

The calendars are available through Missouri Department of Conservation’s Nature Shop in Jefferson City. You can buy them online at Cost is $7 not counting shipping. Order several calendars, you will find family and friends wanting one, too.

One of my brothers gave my mother a wonderful gardening-related gift a number of decades ago. It was a handmade receipt book she could claim when she needed help in the garden. There was a coupon for moving mulch, another for trimming trees, a third for raking leaves and so on.

After making the coupons, add them to a nice bag of coffee beans, tea or whatever she likes to drink to relax after a hard day in the garden. For years my mother used to tell friends that was one of her all-time favorite Christmas gifts.

Gardeners, if they want to have self-respecting hands, wear gloves. If they garden regularly, they will go through a number of pairs of gloves in one season. During the course of those gardening months, they will leave at least one pair somewhere near the compost pile; misplace another pair in a jacket pocket and sacrifice one, maybe two, to the sock-eating dryer monster. I’m not convinced the monster eats them, I suspect he plants them to grow more socks but maybe you have a kleptomaniacal one. My missing socks periodically reappear, which makes me wonder if mine is not also a bit of a fashionista.

As I was saying, you won’t go wrong giving a nice pair of gardening gloves. All cotton gardening gloves are good; with protected finger tips even better. The cotton ones with the little inside raised nubs seem practical but don’t last. Well, the nubby part does but the cotton side comes apart after a few washings.

All this talk of sock-eating dryer monsters now makes me wonder about Christmas stockings. Odd that we only have one, isn’t it?

Charlotte Ekker Wiggins is a beekeeper, gardener and sometimes cook. Published with permission, copyright 2016, all rights reserved. Contact Charlotte at


ANOTHER GARDENING GIFT – My recommended gardening-related gift ideas include a Missouri Department of Conservation Natural Events Calendar available from the Nature Store in Jefferson City. You can order them online.

(Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins).


WELCOME GARDENING GIFT – A quality pair of gardening gloves is a good gift choice, especially one with reinforced tips. Add seeds if you can still find them this time of year, you can’t go wrong with a pack of zinnias; make that three, I love zinnias.