The excitement of Christmas in our household is always complicated by the earlier dilemma of “What shall we buy for so-and-so?” The thought of trekking round the shops and garden centre is enough to deter even the most determined of gift givers; but when you can sit of an afternoon with a cup of tea and work your way through a catalogue offering a fascinating array of truly useful gifts, that will be delivered to your door, well why wait? The Dobies 2012 Christmas Catalogue is on my desk as I write; working my way through it, there is just so much that would be perfect for gardening outdoors, and for the indoor gardening addict when the weather is not fit. Starting with the back cover (as one does!) take a look at the superb ‘Gardening Hamper Gift Sets’. Choose from one that includes seeds for either traditional vegetables, patio veg, or garden flowers – every hamper contains a top quality stainless steel trowel and fork, natural jute garden twine, a windowsill propagator ‘Jiffy’ growing modules, bio-degradable pots and 10 packets of seed as per selection above.
Turning to the catalogue pages in logical order, most households would enjoy a hardy indoor ‘Ageless Azalea’ – with red or white flowers. Either is supplied in a 12cm (4.72in) pot. The best way to keep the plants fresh is out of direct sunlight (they are edge-of-woodland plants), sitting in a bowl part filled with gravel which you keep moist with rain-water, as they are none too keen on lime. Avoid wetting the flowers and keep the leaves dust free.
Or how about some ‘Fragrant Hyacinths’ – three bulbs in pink, white or blue planted in a 15cm (6in) basket. Stand on a plate to prevent staining of tabletop surface, and keep compost moist, indeed don’t let it dry out. These prepared bulbs will flower within 2-3 weeks depending on room temperature. I like to fill my kitchen windowsill with flowering bulbs.
For a real treat, I hanker after a luxury silk ‘Elegant Peony & Viburnum’. Exceptionally life-like in its pretty receptacle, the exquisite blooms are created by the inspirational company, Floralsilk, for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Gift one to your mother, mother-in-law or grandmother. Every purchase will contribute towards plant science and conservation undertaken by the RBG.
Finally in this trawl through the catalogue: take a look at the ‘Big Dibber’ – an easy-to-use implement made from sustainable mango wood (polished to a smooth finish) with centimeter gradations in 2cm increments up its length. It will allow you to accurately measure planting depths from 2cm to 28cm (11in) for seeds, bulbs, tubers and small plants. If you prefer to work in inches, just write the nearest equivalent on the reverse side using a permanent marker pen.
If you simply cannot decide what to give a gardening friend or relative, how about an Online Gift Voucher? Vouchers are available from £5 to £250 and as soon as you order one online, you will be e-mailed a special 16-digit voucher code right away! A gift for the recipient to spend on the Dobies website. Coming next week: Gardening Books with free Dobies seeds and gifts that will help to encourage wildlife into your garden.