Johannesburg - Have you got a gardening enthusiast in your family and are looking for gift ideas? Well, look no further than your local garden centre. All have a delicious selection of gifts ranging from containers to plants, tools and accessories. Consider these ideas…
* Indoor plants. These are colourful and popular. Anything with a hint of colour in the flowers, leaves or branches will fit the bill. Think of gerberas, chrysanthemums, begonias, anthuriums and amaryllis. Green is also a winner at this time of year so take a look at the love palms, ficus plants and ferns. Add a little gold ribbon and you have a wonderfully festive gift to give.
* Christmas flowers. The beautiful, red-flowering poinsettia or Christmas flower has always been the most popular indoor plant gift for the festive season. Their bright red foliage and dark green leaves are the perfect colours for any festive décor. Potted and ready for the table, poin-settias will last through-out the festive season. In South Africa, they are grown in greenhouses to make them flower in December. When planted in the garden, they will revert to flowering in mid-winter.
* Fuchsias, hydrangeas and roses are all must-haves for the garden this summer. Revel in the variety of colours and forms and you will certainly find many a gift idea among these beauties.
* Indigenous plants are also highly regarded as gifts. They send an eco-friendly, waterwise message in this hot season.
* Seeds. If you are working on a reduced budget, consider giving a seed pack. There is a host of seed packs, both for flowering plants and vegetables. The new Patio Vegetable range from BallStraathof has been specially created for container gardening. It includes three different cherry tomatoes for hanging baskets, a compact vine cucumber, baby sweet peppers, and Simply Herb pots consisting of dill, parsley, thyme or sage.
* Herbs. Does your family like cooking? Consider a planter for a sunny windowsill in the kitchen so that you can snip what you need as you cook. Look out for a potted basil, parsley or thyme.
You can also consider a miniature greenhouse – the complete kit for planting herbs. The kit includes seed for parsley, chives and basil as well as tins for planting, growing tips and even peg boards for writing the names of the herbs. Both are great gifts for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.
* Bonsai. The gift of living art is a glorious idea for the festive season. Consider a potted ginseng ficus bonsai as a perfect gift and it is ideal for first-timers or newcomers to the world of bonsai growing. This little pot-bellied tree is especially suited to anyone looking to start a hobby in the world of bonsai.
Considered the beginner’s bonsai, it does very well indoors provided it is away from excessive light and watered moderately.
For the true enthusiasts, the list of gift ideas beyond plants is endless. Take a look in your loved one’s tool shed before heading out to shop, or try a starter kit for pet lovers.
Once you arrive at your garden centre, look out for attractive pots, baskets, shears, watering cans, digging and planting tools, gloves and gumboots, kneeling pads, weedeaters, sprayers, hedge clippers, a water feature, wind chime, statue, bench, bird bath or even candle-holders for night lights.
* For the birds. Attracting birds to your garden is an enormously rewarding pastime and there a number of gifts that will help someone to set up a birdie paradise.
Consider a range of wooden bird feeders, wild bird seed in the shape of apples or Christmas trees or a specialist nectar feeder that will attract sunbirds.
* Gardening 101. An informative book on gardening is the perfect festive season gift. Take your pick from a range of best- loved gardening books: Organic Gardening, The Garden Planner, Small Space Gardening, The Gardeners’ Year and Practical Gardening or a book on bonsai.
* Gardener’s Greenhouse. Get your kids interested in creating a garden of their own with the Gardener’s Greenhouse – a three-ton wooden greenhouse to assemble pack with potting soil, four packs of seeds, a rake and shovel. Everything is clearly labelled and there are easy-to- follow instructions and labels for the seeds.
* Wacky Wellies. Why not buy a pair of Wacky Wellies for your kids? Gone are the days of boring green and black wellies. Mini Max gardeners’ boots are colourful, fun, stylish and come with large round button eyes on the front, making them an instant hit with kids. The boots come in a pretty and sturdy bag for easy storage.
* A voucher: Finally, if you are undecided, buy a garden centre gift voucher to solve all your problems. - Kay Montgomery, Saturday Star