Some people are really easy to buy gifts for, while others can be so hard! A useful way to choose gifts for family and friends that they will actually like and make use of, is to take a look at their hobbies. Most of us have a hobby, and there’s no denying that a lot of Aussies love their gardens.
Most Aussies like to be outdoors, and there’s nothing more enjoyable on a balmy summer evening than to be sitting outside in a well-maintained garden for a BBQ. The climate in Australia is perfect to be outdoors tending to a garden, and a lot of introduced species of plant do just as well growing in our soil as the native species who have perfectly adapted to the environment.
Go to any garden nursery, hardware store or gardening super centre on a Saturday morning and you’ll see that it’s absolutely packed with people wanting gardening advice and buying plants and accessories to satisfy their green thumb. In fact, if you turn up at opening time, around 6am for some stores, there’s usually a line to get in the door.
Given that it’s almost a guarantee that you have a few friends or relatives who like to be in their garden, we’ve come up with these handy gift ideas themed around their favourite pastime.
There are endless types of pretty pots to put indoor, outdoor and hanging plants in. Having a variety of different pots adds to the charm of a garden setting. While gardening centres tend to have the standard terracotta, glazed and plastic pots, if you keep your eye open you can find some unique, vintage and handmade designs quite easily.
Antique stores are a great place to start looking. Second-hand charity stores usually have a good selection as well. Nowadays, trendy homewares stores are popping up everywhere. These types of stores usually have pots, but they also have woven raffia baskets and baskets made from felt, cardboard and wicker that make for eye-catching options as well. If you enjoy getting crafty, why not pull out the paints and find a simple pot to add your own paintings onto the exterior?
Make your own terrarium
If you haven’t heard of a terrarium yet, you soon will. These quirky indoor features are self-contained miniature greenhouses and it’s getting less unusual to see one perched on a shelf in someone’s living room or on a coffee table. Made of glass and filled with soil and miniature tropical plants like ferns and moss, they are sealed for long periods of time, creating a wondrous water cycle that allows the plants to thrive when left completely untouched.
Making a terrarium is a fun activity for adults and kids to do together. The kids can learn about a plant’s life cycle and what it needs to survive, while they can decide which plants they want to place where inside the structure. You can buy terrarium supplies in any gardening centre or gardening market and nursery. You will need the glass terrarium, soil, plants and some stones and pebbles for the moss to grow on.
Herb drying rack
Most gardeners have herbs growing in their gardens, while even non-gardeners might have a pot or two of their favourite herbs sitting on the kitchen window sill. Herbs grow well in pots and are relatively low-maintenance to care for. When herb plants are thriving, they grow very quickly, far too quickly to know what to do with all their leaves which can be eaten. That’s when a herb drying rack comes in handy.
Not many people have these nifty devices, but they are perfect to have hanging in the kitchen. They are small and compact, and make for a decorative, rustic touch to the look of the kitchen. When pruning the herb plant, simply bunch together the leaves and tie with string, then hang them upside down on the drying rack and you can create your very own dried herbs to season meals with. You can find herb drying racks in most department stores, gardening centres and garden supply centres.
Whether they are a seasoned gardener or are relatively new to the hobby, hardwearing live plants like succulents and cacti make great gifts. These types of desert-dwelling plants have boomed in popularity in the last few years. They do really well in the pots that you buy them in, or if you want them to grow really large, they can simply be re-potted or planted in the ground and will thrive in a sunny position.
What’s even more appealing about these types of live plants is, they are very low-maintenance and look great just about anywhere they are placed. You can find a variety of succulents and cacti in your local garden nursery, as well as places like homewares stores and any larger gardening centres.
With Christmas just around the corner, these gifts will make a great addition under the tree for the garden lover in your family. Or, if it’s a birthday or other gift-giving occasion, they work equally as well. The good thing about these gift ideas is, you don’t need to have an outdoor garden to make use of them. They are all completely appropriate for apartment living too.