The best gift is something that will brighten spirits during our dark, dreary days.
YOU CAN DO nothing kinder for gardeners during this darkest season of the year than to gift them with a reminder of their passion for plants and nature. Here are suggestions for keeping your shopping simple, from a hip new book on houseplants to the equally unlikely idea of a good-looking tool holster.
• A new generation has discovered the joys of growing houseplants, and as Seattle grows ever-denser, it’s a good time for a fresh look at houseplant possibilities. A pair of young German bloggers shows us the way with a stylish book just published in English. “Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants,” by Igor Josifovic and Judith De Graaff (Callwey Publishers, $35), features homes across Europe that have greened up their interiors. The book includes plant lists and tips but is noteworthy for the chic inspiration and lively encouragement it offers. Not only will your giftee be impressed by the book’s modern graphics and unpretentious vibe, but you’ll look very cool for giving such a thoroughly modern take on houseplants.
• The gift that truly keeps giving year-round is a magazine subscription, and the gold standard is the influential British journal “Gardens Illustrated.” No other publication in our field offers the same quality of photography, writing and dedication to plants in all their glory and fascination. It’s as appropriate a gift for a dirt gardener as for the most experienced designer, and you’ll be thanked 13 times a year when your giftee’s copy arrives in the mailbox. You can buy a subscription online, or get a special deal offered exclusively for Seattle Times readers ($45 for 13 issues) by calling 866-464-8103 with the code MSTXM16 before Dec. 31.
• Grubby gloves, sore muscles and lost tools are a gardener’s reality, so these practical items from Womanswork are welcome gifts. The unisex tool holster ($20) is a sturdy, adjustable belt made of heavy nylon mesh that sheds water. Its pockets are small enough to comfortably fit on the hip, yet roomy enough to hold the most vital tools. There’s even room to tuck in a dry pair of high-performance gloves. Custom sized to a woman’s hands, these brightly colored gloves feature gripping palm patches and reinforced fingertips. Best of all, they’re machine-washable ($23.50, or two pairs for $39.95). And if it’s stocking stuffers you’re looking for, who wouldn’t love a tube of Womanswork’s Arnica & Peppermint Muscle Rub? Massage into tired, cold muscles to therapeutically warm them after a cold day in the garden. Made of organic shea butter, healing arnica montana flower, oil of peppermint and plant-derived menthol crystals, this lovely-smelling concoction costs $16 for a 3.3-ounce tube.
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• Have a design maven on your list? Check out the handsome zinc wall planters from Northwest company Artisan Crafted Home. They have slim silhouettes that take up little space, yet are deep enough to grow popular, easy-care succulents. These half- or full-circle planters can be stacked on the same wall to create the look of a living wall, or used singly in an entryway or sheltered area. Made of galvanized iron with a modern-looking zinc finish, they come in four sizes and range in price from $25 to $105, or can be purchased as a set.
I’ll admit I didn’t get past the first item on this list without ordering a copy of the houseplant book for myself. That’s the holiday season for you … one for you, and one for me.