Gifts for gardeners in your own backyard | The Garden Shed

WSU Master Gardener

I was in line at a store the other day and overheard the woman next to me say to her friend, “She doesn’t cook, so she’s really hard to buy gifts for.”

“Well!” I thought to myself, “I don’t cook and I’m not so hard to buy gifts for. I’m a gardener!”

When my kids ask me, “What do you want for Christmas (or birthday, or Mother’s Day, or just because), I always reply, ‘Something for the garden.’”

It has occurred to me that not everyone might think buying gifts for gardeners is so easy. So, I took a walk around Friday Harbor last week to discover gifts for gardeners right in our own back yard. Everywhere I looked, there was something a gardener would love. Here is just a sampling of what I found.

Ace Hardware has glass hummingbird feeders, $19.95 (Anna’s hummingbirds are on San Juan Island all year round); Atlas Nitrile gloves, $6.95, in which you can pull small weeds and keep your hands clean; a Corona hand trowel, $8.95, which will last forever.

Robin’s Nest has a selection of garden statuary and bird baths ($70-$150) and garden torches so you can see them in the night; and paper whites and hyacinths (99 cents) to force in beautiful vases.

Island Studios has so much garden-themed art work it’s hard to name it all: leaf reproductions, flower tiles, carved birds, and beautiful photographs and paintings of flowers and gardens.

Friday Harbor Drug has a 1,500-piece jigsaw puzzle of flowers ($17.99) which will fill those winter hours between gardening seasons, and a Lily night light ($23.99) to find your way to the kitchen for a midnight snack.

Sandpebble has a poppy wall plaque ($135) to grace the garden fence, and small glass vases for tiny spring blooms of lily of the valley and dwarf daffodils.

Browne’s Nursery has bulbs (40 percent off!); Felco tools (as does Robin’s Nest), the Cadillac of hand clippers; houseplants to make an indoor garden; pots, and winter hardy plants.

Vital Elements has Plantable Seed calendars — when the month is finished, plant the page and voila! Beautiful plants!

Don’t forget gardening books. Look for the “Audubon Gardening Journal” and “Botany for Gardeners” at Griffin Bay; for “Growing with the Seasons” at Harbor Books.

More ideas: Want to nudge a gardener to greener practices? Buy a box of Sluggo or other iron phosphate slug bait, which does not harm animals or children, but which is more expensive than other kinds. Wrap it up with a donation to the Animal Protection Society and a bag of dog goodies for your gardening friend’s dog. Throw in some Sodbuster Soap for Hands that Garden (Island Studios) or 100 percent shea butter lotion (Robin’s Nest).

Looking for something your children can do? Make pinecone bird feeders — peanut butter mixed with birdseed and slathered on pinecones. Have them paint a terra cotta pot with primary colors of their choice, or make garden stepping stones molded in concrete with bits of mosaic, broken pottery, or beautiful stones pressed into them. All the supplies for these projects can be found on the island.

If you’re feeling the hard times acutely, there is one unsurpassed gift. There isn’t a gardener in the world who wouldn’t love to have an hour or two of your time to help weed the garden, plant the marigolds on the front deck, or just bring dinner over so no one has to cook after a long day in the garden.

In fact, when my children ask, “What do you want for Christmas?,” that’s what I really want: an hour of their time with me in the garden. It’s what we all want at this time of year, the presence of those we love.

— Jody Burns is a master gardener living (and gardening) on San Juan Island. Contact her at

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