It’s that time of year again, and you may be looking for gift ideas for your friends and family — without venturing into public locations. Whether you know a gardener or you want to treat yourself, here are some holiday gift ideas for gardeners which you can get safely online.
Wireless temperature gauges: Battery-powered sensors like this one that you can put in various parts of your yard to keep track of the temperature. The wireless connection sends the temperature reading to a device in your house. These are very useful for determining your yard’s microclimates and figuring out when you need to protect your plants from frost.
Tools: Besides the usual gardening tools such as pruning shears and shovels, useful tools for our climate are pickaxes, caliche bars, and water probes. Heavy gloves will also come in handy. If you really want to splurge, you can buy your gardener a small chipper-shredder, like this one, to enable them to shred their small yard waste into mulch or compost.
Sun protection: Hats, long-sleeve shirts and pants are all extremely useful in our climate and will help reduce the risk of skin cancer. Check out this helpful guide from a dermatology practice on sun-protective clothing.
Seeds: Whether you’re looking for food plants or ornamentals, there are a couple of great local sources for seeds which you can purchase online. Native Seed/SEARCH has both native plant seeds as well as locally-adapted vegetable seeds. Borderlands Restoration has many varieties of seeds available for grasses, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Spadefoot Nursery also sells wildflower seeds.
Memberships: You can treat your gardener to a year-long membership to the Tucson Botanical Garden, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson Audubon, or Tohono Chul. All of these venues are open during the pandemic, although some may have special requirements or limitations; check their websites for the most up-to-date information.
Online gardening course at The Great Courses: This site is currently having an end-of-the-year sale, and they have an excellent course titled "The Science of Gardening" for only $25 (use Priority Code 191926). The presenter is horticulturalist Linda Chalker-Scott, PhD from Washington State University. She covers science-based recommendations and busts some age-old gardening myths. It's a great foundational gardening course whether you are just starting out or have been gardening for decades. Chalker-Scott has also written several great gardening books.
Books: There are quite a few in my library which are useful for our region.
- The New Sunset Western Garden Book: An encyclopedic plant reference for western gardeners from the editors of Sunset Magazine. The 9th edition is the most recent.
- Hummingbird Plants of the Southwest by Marcy Scott. Nice photos and lots of information on some great pollinator plants.
- Plants for Dry Climates by Mary Rose Duffield and Warren D. Jones. An oldie but goodie from 1981 with lots of great information.
- Landscaping With Native Plants of the Southwest by George Oxford Miler. A classic guide for native plants with great sections on maintenance, water conservation, and special sections on evergreens and colorscaping.
- Growing the Southwest Garden by Judith Phillips. Beautiful pictures and an easy to use key for the listed plants.
- Perennials for the Southwest by Mary Irish. Helpful sections on design and care along with both native and non-native plants.
- Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol. 1: Guiding Principles by Brad Lancaster. Considered the Bible of rainwater harvesting by many around the world. Brad Lancaster lives here in Tucson.
- Rainwater Harvesting for Dryland and Beyond Vol. 2: Water Harvesting Earthworks by Brad Lancaster. A must-have for anyone looking to start passive rainwater harvesting.
For more ideas, check out these local business websites:
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