CHRISTMAS is a time for buying presents but what could I get him, what could I get her, that is the problem?
If either are keen on their garden then there is lots that one could give and purchases need not stretch resources as there is plenty of inexpensive gifts available. Children can even choose for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Some tools may be a little expensive, especially stainless steel spades but, with proper care, it is a sound investment that will last a lifetime. Smaller tools, such as secateurs, trowels and hand forks, are less expensive, and a really handy item is a decent penknife or patio knife, the latter coming in useful for getting to those stubborn weeds between flagstones and mono blocks.
There are all manner of gardening gloves for protecting the hands from grime and thorns, and it is now strongly recommended to wear gloves when handling multi-purpose composts and farmyard manure. A holster for having secateurs to hand would come in very useful.
For people without a garden but who enjoy plants, there is a wide range on offer at this time, the two most popular being poinsettias and bowls of hyacinths. The red variety of the former is synonymous with the festive season but breeding has produced plants with pink or white tops. The flower is found deep in the centre and quite insignificant, the appeal of this plant being the colourful top and though these look like foliage, it is, in fact, what are termed bracts. For fragrance, little can compare with a bowl of hyacinths, and, if purchased in bud and not kept in too hot a room, will last for weeks.
For something really acceptable there are the many varieties of orchids now widely available. They will already be in flower and will last well into 2014, and if you select a plant that has more buds to open, then all the better.
Not everyone likes the ostentatious blooms of amaryllis but the huge floral display can be achieved by those people not blessed with ‘green fingers’. They are often sold in kits complete with bulb, pot and compost.
If you are still undecided, then there is always the last resort – a garden gift voucher and the recipient can make their own choice either now or later.