Seed of an idea
Stuck for inspiration regarding a Christmas gift for the green-fingered person(s) in your life? Read on, read on . . .
Gifts under €25
Enjoy even more figgy pudding with Ficus ‘Two-Timer’, a fig tree that crops not just once but twice in the same year (€19.95, mrmiddleton.com); The Cutting Globe, a knacky new Irish-designed product which allows gardeners to propagate plants by air-layering them (from €5, thecuttingglobe.com); A paper potter to cleverly recycle old newspapers into biodegradable pots (€14.95-€19.95, dyg.ie); A variety of seasonal, mossy pots filled with scented hyacinths, cyclamen and amaryllis, from The Garden at Powerscourt Townhouse Centre (from €18.95, thegardenpowerscourt.ie); A Zippo handwarmer, for chilly spring mornings on the allotment (£13.65, see amazon.co.uk); A calendar beautifully illustrated with west Cork artist Sonia Caldwell’s watercolours of healing plants (€12.50, kilcoestudios.com) or The Irish Kitchen Garden Gardening Calendar 2014, designed by horticulturist Lynne O’ Keefe-Lascar, and filled with useful monthly tips (€8.50, theirishkitchengarden.com); Vintage containers recycled as pots and planted up by horticulturist Niamh Browne of the Dublin Garden Boutique (from €18, see facebook.com/Dublin-Garden-Boutique), Burgon & Ball Kneelo knee pads to take the pain out of weeding (€19.95, thesecretgardener.com); A gift set containing Showa Floreo gardening gloves, hand soaps and hand cream (€23.85, ballymaloeshop.ie); A Christmas Stuffing herb pot, from the Courtyard Gardener at Formality (from €20, facebook.com/the courtyardgardener); A traditional seed tray tamper made from FSC oak (€14.95, thesecretgardener.com); A ‘boot jack’ to help prise off those muddy wellies (€14.95, dyg.ie); The Dib Dab, a handy dibber tool that includes a mini ‘diblet’ and prongs to mark out the perfect seed drill (€12.95), or a pot brush to give the inside of terracotta pots a good scrub-down (€14.95), (both from quickcrop.ie); The award-winning ‘Born in Sweden’ birdfeeder, which can be mounted onto a window pane (€20, formalityonline.com); Emma Bridgewater’s limited-edition bird-themed mugs (€21, birdwatchireland.ie); Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’, a new semi-evergreen daphne that produces its deeply scented flowers continuously from early spring right through to autumn (€18, Altamont Plant Sales, altamontplants.com)
Gifts from €25-€50
One of Cork-based Brown Envelope Seeds ‘Purple Veg’ gift boxes, which includes seed of nine different purple vegetables, all exceptionally rich in anthocyanins – the plant compounds associated with a range of health benefits (€25, brownenvelopeseeds.com); Famous French cutlery company Opinel’s three-piece gift set of folding garden knives, (£39.95,
amazon.co.uk); The sculptural Seedpod birdfeeder, made in west Cork and hand-turned from native Irish oak (€29.95, quercus.ie) A one-year subscription to The Irish Garden magazine, Ireland’s best-selling gardening monthly (from €25, mediateam.ie); One of Waterford-based Irish Handmade Glass Company’s delicately beautiful glass vases, to show off those lovely home-grown flowers (Summer Days Bud vase, €39.95, theirishhandmadeglasscompany.com); A Cloonkeen Atelier handmade scented candle to bring the smells of the garden – blackcurrant, mint, gooseberry, moss, roses- indoors (€32.95, cloonkeenatelier.com); A natty garden flask (€24.95, thegardenpowerscourt.ie); A wind-up, mechanical singing bird, a quirky gift for those days when it’s just too wet/cold to venture outdoors (€25.95, dyg.ie); dOne of Hafod Grange’s dandelion seed-head paperweights from Dublin florist Appassionata (€45, appassionata.ie); A boules set, always good fun on a hot summer’s day (€29.95, dyg.ie); A gift-boxed flower press, to preserve garden memories (€34.95, quickcrop.ie); Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel, a beautiful, lime-tolerant small tree that produces star-shaped pink flowers on bare branches in mid-spring (€26.95, mrmiddleton.com); Any of the Dutch-made Sneeboer range of handmade tools (fruithillfarm.com); One-year membership of the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland (from €10-€40, rhsi.ie), The Irish Garden Plant Society (€15.50- €30, irishgardenplantsociety.com) Grow It Yourself (from €25, giyinternational.org) or supporter of Irish Seed Savers Association (from €50, irishseedsavers.ie).
Gifts from €50-€100
A ticket to the world’s most famous garden show, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (20th-24th May, 2014, £23-£68 rhs.org.uk); A year’s subscription to the Rolls Royce of gardening magazines, Gardens Illustrated (£49.99, buysubscriptions.com); Lightweight, breathable, warm, comfortable with a neoprene shell construction that’s 100 per cent waterproof and self-insulating, Muck Boots aren’t your average wellies (from €52, whitesagri.ie, also wellies.ie); A ticket to Strip: Exposing Layers & Meaning in 21st Century Garden Design, the Garden and Landscape Design Association’s 2014 seminar (February 8th, 2014) whose speakers will include award-winning designer Oliver Schurmann, landscape architect Feargus McGarvey, sculptor/topiary expert Jake Hobson, and garden historian/author/critic Tim
Richardson (€40 students/€55 members/€65 public, glda.ie); A ‘Born In Sweden’ sleekly contemporary watering can in white, black or zingy orange (€70, formalityonline.com); A gift voucher from Mount Venus, one of the country’s very best specialist nurseries
Gifts from €100-€500
One of the 100 specially commissioned, botanically-inspired fine art prints from the Graphic Studio touring exhibition A Natural Selection, now showing in Greenacres Gallery in Wexford (€100 unframed, €140 framed, anaturalselectiongsd.com and graphicstudiodublin.com); A hand-forged copper spade from Fruithill Farm (€109-€132, fruithillfarm.com); The Kadai fire pit/barbecue on legs, perfect for cooking produce from the garden (€195) or the Cross Beam Fruit Press (€295) to make your own apple juice (both from quickcrop.ie); A made-to-order, adult-sized wooden rope swing, with a hand-carved inscription (from £149, sittingspiritually.co.uk); A course that helps you to make your own fire brazier, which is taken under the guidance of artists and blacksmiths Calnan & Anhoj (€220, calnan-anhoj.ie); Opticron Oregon waterproof binoculars to study garden wildlife (€125, birdwatchireland.ie).
A tour of the gardens of Tuscany with Dermot O’ Neil (from €879) or the gardens of Lake Como with Frances MacDonald (from €899, see traveldepartment.ie); A Plants Person’s Course with Jimi Blake of Hunting Brook Gardens (10 days, one day per month, from February 23rd, 2014, €888, with 20 per cent discount for members of RHSI, GLDA, ALCI and garden.ie, see huntingbrook.com); A smart glasshouse to keep plants snugly protected from the elements (from about €800, polydome.ie); A bespoke garden gazebo or summerhouse from Dublin-based Victorian Garden Buildings (from €2,972 excluding installation costs, victoriangardenbuildings.com); A garden shed that is so chic you wouldn’t mind turning it into your very own secret hideout (€8,500 for the Newport, one of the Hoard range available from Formality, see formalityonline.com)
Prices don’t include p&p. A round-up of the year’s best gardening books will follow later this month.