It’s that time of year again, when you’re looking for Christmas gifts for gardeners but your local garden centre is packed full of dyed orchids, glitter sprayed succulents and other such abominations. There’s a mountain of seed catalogues through the post packed with offers but they’re all filled with superlative descriptions of twenty new varieties of carrots. So, what are some great Christmas gift ideas for the enthusiastic amateur gardener?
Well, I may be a little biased but I think that great gardening gifts nearly always involve seeds and unusual edibles! So, here’s a roundup of some of my favourite gardening gift ideas.
(As a disclaimer, I have absolutely nothing to do with any of the products linked below and I get absolutely nothing if I you subsequently click through and decide to buy any of them).
Seed Gift Collections
For me, there’s nothing more exciting than receiving a package of seeds as a gift especially if it’s unusual varieties or something that I haven’t tried growing before. Lots of lovely independent seed companies offer seed gift collections which include a carefully curated selection of seeds packaged together as a gift. Some of my favourites are the Heirloom Tomato Box from Brown Envelope Seeds, the Oriental Explorer Collection from Real Seeds and the Chilli Fest Favourites from Victoriana. Of course, there’s also nothing to stop you from creating your own lovingly selected collection of seeds to give as a gift from one of many wonderful places to buy seeds online.
Heritage Seed Library Membership
The Heritage Seed Library is part of Garden Organic and aims to conserve and reintroduce heritage and rare vegetable varieties that are not currently widely available. Membership of the Seed Library can be given as gift and entitles you to select six packets of seeds each year from the delightful Heritage Seed Library catalogue as well as supporting the work of the library. I’ve been a member for a couple of years now and there are always a wonderful range of interesting varieties in the catalogue that you simply cannot get from anywhere else!
A Wonderful Gardening Book
If you know anyone that is even the least bit interested in growing heritage varieties or unusual edibles, then I can wholeheartedly recommended any of the following brilliant books. Both Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs by Emma Cooper and A Taste of the Unexpected by Mark Diacono are what really inspired and ignited my passion for growing unusual edibles in my garden and allotment. They are absolutely filled to the brim with ideas, inspiration and information about an enormous range of unusual edibles that can be grown with relative ease.
Another great resource is Heirloom Plants by Thomas Etty and Lorraine Harrison which is rightfully advertised as a compendium of heritage vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Each page is packed with the history, profiles and information about countless interesting and unusual heirloom varieties.
I could well recommended any of Joy Larkcom’s many wonderful books but The Salad Garden is probably my favourite and most frequently referred to. This is a wonderful guide to growing over 200 varieties of salad crops and is packed with wonderful anecdotes, tips and recommendations.
Finally, James Wong is perhaps at his best when he is crusading against quackery and misinformation on Twitter but he’s also the author of Grow for Flavour. This is full of practical and evidence based tips to improve the flavour of your homegrown crops as well as recommendations for the best varieties to grow for flavour.
If you have any indea for other great Christmas gifts for gardeners then please leabe a comment or get in touch on Twitter.