Issue: December 23, 1996

Gardeners' gifts


I have a friend who likes to garden. I want to buy a gift that this friend would like. What kind of gift should I buy a gardener?


Gardeners are sometimes easy to buy things for, and sometimes difficult. Do you know what type of gardening the gardener prefers? Does your friend like to grow roses, perennials, flowering bulbs, vegetables, or perhaps fruit? Once you know if a gardener specializes in a particular type of gardening, you can begin to develop an idea. Buying plants for an experienced gardener can be difficult. The person may have everything needed from local and common sources, but there may be books or tools a gardener would like to own. If the gardener is just beginning, then plants may be a good choice, but books and tools are still good ideas. Talk to the gardener and ask to see the person's library and tool collection. Then, slyly, ask what tools the gardener is planning to buy in the future. Or, talk to your friend's spouse about any ideas for your purchase.

Books are an excellent choice. If the gardener is really interested in the correct names for plants and the science of plants, there are good books in a range of prices to consider. There are also books with beautiful photos that the gardener can peruse as they dream of their future garden. These books can also be used to encourage and teach new gardeners. Most gardeners like to share their hobby and grow new gardeners.

There are numerous tools for gardeners - the basic ones that most gardeners already have and then specialized tools that they plan to purchase. There are some to make weeding easier, such as special hoes that fit into tight spaces, and other hoes that minimize soil disturbance while cutting the roots of weeds. Some tools facilitate edging flower borders and gardens. Other tools make planting the garden easier. See if there are some of these that would be an appropriate addition to your friend's tool collection.

Other things to consider are Walls-o-Water(TM), hot-caps, and other things to let them start a garden earlier in the spring. Perhaps your friend would like to start vegetables and flowers indoors early. There are special seed starting kits and pots that a gardener may enjoy. Potting soil may also be useful. Your friend may enjoy some new flower pots or colorful jardinieres.

If your friend likes house plants or herbs, these would be good gifts. Some gardeners specialize in cacti, orchids, tropical houseplants, or any of many other types. Local nurseries can also help you select such a gift.

Gardeners are a varied lot, but there are many gifts that they would enjoy. Be sure to give your friend a chance to tell you about garden preferences. Just giving of your time and listening is a gift that almost any gardener would love.

May you shopping be pleasant and your holidays be safe and joyous.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!