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Give a Gift of Garden Whimsy This Christmas

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The holiday gift shopping season is in full swing. For those of you with a favorite gardener on your list, allow me to suggest some gifts for their garden. Whether you shop in the stores, nurseries, or online there is a cornucopia of garden items to choose from. Fountains, statuary, bird baths, wind chimes, decorative pots, trellises, and decorative stepping stones are all wonderful gifts to give, but they can be on the pricey side.

Personally, I enjoy gifts for the garden that are inexpensive, fun, or raise an eyebrow or two! Like a pink flamingo, an old bowling ball, rusted bits of metal that have interesting shapes, wooden & metal insects on stakes, metal flowers small and large (over 6 feet), gazing balls and cement animals, all to be placed among the branches of shrubs or within flower beds. I have all of the above in my garden and, as I walk past them each day, every piece brings a smile to my face.

Large to small clay saucers can be turned into birdbaths and/or butterfly drinking stations. For a birdbath, place a large flat stone in the middle of a large saucer and place in the garden. If it can be placed on a pedestal that would be ideal, but birds will use it even if it’s on the ground. Insure that there is always water in the saucer. For a butterfly drinking station, pour sand in the middle of any size saucer leaving an inch around the sides of the saucer. Moisten the sand and allow some water to stand around the side. Keep the sand damp at all times. Place the saucer near plants that attract butterflies.

A great garden addition-useful and playful at the same time-is a tuteur. From the French for “trainer”, a tuteur is a tapering, four-sided trellis ideal for growing vines. Tuteurs can be found made out of metal, wood or bamboo. Placed in the garden they add vertical interest to any garden bed that may be lacking in height. Tuteurs can also be used in the vegetable garden for growing any kind of twining vegetable like pole beans.

For a more whimsical tuteur and to do some garden recycling at the same time, find four sturdy branches, all about equal diameter and about five feet in length. They don’t have to be straight, in fact, the more crooked they are the better. Put the four branches together and wrap wire around them about 8 inches from the top. Make this wire as tight as possible. Stand the branches up and fan the four ‘legs’ outward. The degree of spread is determined by how tight the wire has been wrapped at the top. Once placed in the garden, you can add colorful fabric to cover the wire, place some sort of ‘finial’ on top or just leave plain.

Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy your whimsical presents!

Carolee James has moved from Tuolumne County and will be constantly on the lookout for more whimsical ‘stuff’ for her new garden. She will regale us from time to time with descriptions of her gardening adventures in her new location.