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Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Gift ideas for your favorite green thumb

December 16, 2020
Large red and white striped flowering amaryllis plant in front of a window.
An amaryllis bulb like this 'Splash' hybrid is always a welcomed surprise for the indoor gardener.

The holiday season is upon us, and what a different holiday season it is! As is tradition, our Yard and Garden News team has put together gift ideas for your favorite gardener to help them get a jump on the season, make tasks easier, and to inspire and create their yard and garden in 2021.

From all of us to you and yours, thank you for reading Yard and Garden News, and have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Julie Weisenhorn, Extension educator, horticulture

There is nothing better than a really great hand pruner. Using a quality pruner and keeping it maintained properly avoids damaging plant stems and makes gardening tasks so much easier. A bypass pruner cuts stems and branches without crushing them. A favorite basic pruner of mine is my Felco bypass pruner, and for smaller pruning and snipping jobs, I like Dramm pruners. I carry one in my car along with my favorite gloves because you never know when you might need to prune something! 

Robin Trott, Extension educator, Douglas County

An herb or mushroom garden kit is a fun and delicious gift. If you want something different, try a Cocktail Garden. The kit contains everything you need to grow the ingredients for interesting new cocktails, including biodegradable pots, growing media, plant markers, seeds (cucamelon, borage, lime basil, hyssop and lemon balm), 18 cocktail recipes, and full sowing and growing tips.  This gift might be just the thing to put a holiday sparkle in your favorite gardener’s eye.

Annie Klodd, Extension educator, fruit and vegetable production

A garden seed variety pack is an ideal stocking stuffer. Have you ever bought a pack of 30 seeds, planted two, and not known what to do with the other 28? Some businesses, like Superior Seed Company in Duluth, are starting to sell what I would call variety packs of seeds that solve this problem. Brilliant! The packs contain just a few seeds of several different types of vegetables or flowers, so you can grow an entire garden from one pack. 

Katie Drewitz, Extension educator, Stearns, Benton and Morrison Counties

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to get someone interested in gardening be sure to check out all of the spring sessions coming from the Extension Master Gardeners around the state.

Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, horticulture integrated pest management

I have less of a green thumb (blasphemy!) and more of an eye for bugs.  If you’re the type of gardener who loved helping your kids raise monarchs or sometimes find yourself more interested in the bugs eating your plants than the damage they’re causing, a good guide to garden bugs is a must.  I am partial to Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs - Second Edition.  Look for it (or request it) at your local bookstore for the budding bug nerd in your life.

Natalie Hoidal, Extension educator, local foods and vegetable crops

If you know someone who loves to garden but lacks access to green space, or someone who wants to grow food all year long, consider a hydroponic kit. You can buy prefabricated kits online, but with a little bit of creativity, you can put together a simple and affordable DIY kit.

Buy local

Locally made gifts are truly some of the best — especially for that person who is tough to buy for. Check out the Minnesota Grown Holiday Local Gift buying guide. All items can be ordered online and delivered or picked-up. There, you will find edible gifts like pies, the “Minnesota Nice” wine series, and local ingredients for your favorite cooks. You can stock up on locally made holiday decorations, yarn from local sources, gifts to pamper that special person, and Minnesota apparel including wool socks, and a zillion more ideas. Our favorite? Emu, rhea and ostrich ratite eggs direct from the ranch!

Orange, yellow and maroon tulips with white flowering shrubs in the background.
Tulips at the MN Landscape Arboretum

The gift that keeps on giving . . .

A membership to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Named the best botanical garden in North America by USA Today readers in 2017 and 2019, the Arboretum is a member-driven nonprofit that is part of the UMN College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Immerse yourself year-round in over 1,200 acres of beautiful gardens, rare plant collections, and accessible trails through natural areas. The Arboretum is the site of UMN cold-hardy plant research and has developed 27 fantastic apples, including our state apple the Honeycrisp. Several levels of membership are available. Kids 15 and under are always free. 

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