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20 Jan 2022

Kildare Gardening: Perfect Christmas presents for the gardener in your life

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Kildare Gardening: Perfect Christmas presents for the gardener in your life

Gloves would be a perfect gift for the gardener in your life

It's that magical time of year when we are all trying to find that perfect present for our loved ones.

We are in need of a lovely family Christmas this year, but who knows at this stage what we may or may not get. We can only hope that things start to settle down and we get to spend this time with our loved ones.

During the lead-up to the festive season, I just love to send the gift of a living Christmas tree. It's very special and can stand at a front door or entrance and hopefully bring joy and a smile to the recipient.

We have sent such trees out to family members this Christmas, and the beauty is that they can plant the tree in the garden in the New Year, and, by adding lights to it in the garden, get years of holiday joy out of it..

Getting children involved in the garden from an early age is a great way to keep active. They get lots of fresh air and learn valuable skills that will last a lifetime. Trees, including apples, pears, plums or even a fig tree, are wonderful examples that can be enjoyed by all the family but can be a really special thing for a child to receive – and adults who are keen gardeners may like such a gift too.

Mediterranean Olive trees are one of the biggest sellers on the nursery. They have always been a firm favourite for smaller gardens, or in pots to add different foliage and that holiday feel to a garden. I have two in my own garden and I just love them.

Otherwise, a specimen tree that will last for years and have sentimental value is a lovely gift. Younger specimens can be planted, and this is such a lovely idea for a young family to be able to watch their garden grow together and see it evolve in maturity over the years. Choose a tree that has significance to the receiver, and maybe flowers every year in spring, summer or even autumn.

A beautiful pot, something that maybe the recipient has been looking for or coveting for a while, is a thoughtful present. Maybe terracotta is their thing; maybe something much more contemporary or maybe Corten steel is much more in keeping with their style - whichever it is I’m sure a gift like this would be gratefully received at Christmas time. I would just love one!

Gardening gloves, secateurs or an apron are always perfect gifts for that family member or as stocking fillers for the garden lover or all those new gardeners out there. For the more mature gardener, then maybe a kneeler for the garden would be gratefully received - I’m starting to need one of these myself!

Gardening books are one of my favourite things to receive, I just love them and they probably just pip cookery books as my favourites. At Christmas time we take two weeks off on the nursery and it's my time to catch up on reading, so these keep me more than happy until the New Year. My recommendations for this year would be some reliable favourites and a few that may be a little harder to get hold of but are worth the search

The Complete Gardener: A Practical, Imaginative Guide to Every Aspect of Gardening by Monty Don

Gardens in My Life: The Favourite Gardens of World-famous Landscape Designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd

The Art of Outdoor Living: Gardens for Entertaining Family and Friends by Scott Shrader

Stonefields by the Seasons by Paul Bangay

Floret Farm's A Year in Flowers: Designing Gorgeous Arrangements for Every Season by Erin Benzakein

Of course, the safest of all presents to buy for the keen gardener is a gift voucher, so that way the receipient can choose exactly what he or she would like – trees, plants, pots or even design services.

Some or all of the above are on my wishlist for this Christmas (just in case my husband or kids are reading) and I’m sure lots of you could leave this article, maybe with a couple of side notes or highlighted paragraphs, around for your family and friends too.

It really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas now. Next week I am going to be looking at how we can dress up our gardens and outdoor spaces as much as the indoors for family festivities and for (hopefully, fingers crossed) welcoming some of our most dear family and friends to our homes. Until then happy gardening, it's the only way to keep sane.

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