Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gifts for Gardeners - No Fake Moss, Please!

Christmas admittedly is not the most exciting time for the gardener in the family.  We're difficult to shop for.  If we could have a day or two to get outside and do some digging, that would be a perfect gift, but pleasant weather conditions are not currently available from, alas.

Gardening became big business in the 80's, purportedly due to Baby Boomers' sudden need to carve out their own private pleasure gardens with their new-found wealth.  By the 1990's Smith & Hawken was a bona fide retail giant - their marketing plan was simple genius: sell Old English gardening mythology to a sentimentally starved but financially bloated demographic.  What garden is finished without faux stone orbs covered in faux moss? Perfect for the new gardener who hasn't the patience to wait for moss to actually, well, grow.

About ten years ago I did receive authentic green Wellington boots for Christmas.  I was ecstatic, believing that my new footwear would be the best, most durable mud boots I'd ever own.  Who could possibly make a better garden boot than the English!

My Wellies lasted about a season and half, only because I refused to admit that they were leaky by the end of season one.  So much for the English and their famous Wellies.  Perhaps they were only meant to look handsome on a Lady pretending to garden while on holiday at her country estate.  One can picture her smartly dressed in hounds tooth, strolling briskly along the gravel paths while delivering orders to her head gardener,  "Jimmy, be a good fellow and fix that yew, won't you?  It's drooping."  

When my friends find out I am a passionate gardener they give me nick-knacks.  So-called "garden art" is plentiful at summer-time craft shows, and that is unfortunate for gardeners with well-intentioned friends who frequent them.

As gardeners age we prefer a decent cookbook or an excellent bottle of port, but less and less do we desire garden goods on Christmas morning.  Unless the giver is a true gardener himself or herself, he or she will not fully appreciate the depth at which the receiver will cherish a fine plank of rot-resistant cedar wood or a big, handsome stone.  Neither of these gifts are conveniently wrap-able but never mind, just lead the gardener into the garage and rejoice in their enthusiasm.


Joe Lamp'l said...

Hi Shane. Thanks so much for a great post. I related to everything you said. Yes, we passionate gardeners are difficult to buy for but it's hard for our loved ones to understand why. My new pair of Wellies I received for Father's day years ago were perfect for all but one day. In my excitement to wear them, I had them on when I was turning my compost pile with my sharp spading fork. One errant turn found the spiked tine puncturing my precious Wellies. I tried to patch them but they were never the same again.
Thanks also for listing my blog post on your blog roll. I appreciate the mention very much. Best to you and I look forward to more good reads from your blog.
Joe Lamp'l

Shane VanOosterhout said...

Joe, that is a great story, and another reason why those Wellie type boots are best for Paddington Bear as he is in no danger of impaling his foot with a pitchfork!