Extension experts offer gift ideas for gardeners

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A garden journal from Lane County Master Gardeners makes a great gift for a gardener. Photo by Linda Renslow/OSU Extension
Last Updated: 
December 15, 2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Whether you want to splurge or stay within a budget for the gift-giving season, the Oregon State University Extension Service has you covered.

Ten Extension Service experts stepped up with ideas for the gardeners in your life. Their thoughtful suggestions range in price from nothing but time to more than $100.

“Garden Insects of North America” – Toni Stephan, horticulture and small farms instructor with Extension in Deschutes County, thinks Whitney Cranshaw’s much-touted book is a good choice. “I’m giving it to my sister this year. She’s a new Master Gardener and this will be a great resource for her,” Stephan said. (Amazon, $18.89)

Coupon for garden help – “This gift would be for weeding, planting, harvesting, whatever the gardener needs,” said Cindy Peterson, Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener coordinator for Extension in Coos County. “Many older folks still want to enjoy their landscape or vegetable garden but can’t keep up with the labor. By giving the gift of time, they get work done, but also get to enjoy spending time with someone they love.”

Donation to garden-related nonprofit organization – Gail Langellotto, Extension’s statewide Master Gardener coordinator, likes the idea of giving to a group such as Growing Gardens or Lettuce Grow. “I have been blessed by the generosity of others throughout my life with scholarships for my education, many generous MGs who have supported the Master Gardener endowment fund and the 2017 International MG conference,” she said. “It feels good to pay it forward.”

Soil thermometer – Weston Miller, a horticulturist with the Extension Service, suggests this simple tool for avid vegetable gardeners. “This will let them know when it’s time to plant various crops,” he said. “They should look for consistent soil temperatures above 50 degrees for cool season crops and above 60 degrees for warm season crops.” (Cost: $7-$30) 

Tea and catalog – “I have had some wonderful English folks in my program,” said Joy Jones, a 4-H and agriculture expert in Tillamook County. “One of their ideas that I liked was a seed or nursery catalog combined with a pretty teacup or nice mug with a garden theme or design and some herbal teas. Sit back, sip a cup, and plan for next year!”

Garden tote – This gardener’s friend for carrying fruits and vegetables, freshly cut flowers or tools is the selection of Jordis Yost, coordinator of Extension Master Gardener program in the Portland area. She particularly likes one from Williams-Sonoma made of wire and trimmed with paulownia wood that allows dirt to fall through and holds a good amount. ($39.95 at Williams-Sonoma.) 

Garden Rhythm journal – Produced by the Master Gardeners of Lane County, Garden Rhythm journal is recommended by Linda Renslow, Extension’s farms and garden programs coordinator in Lane County. It is illustrated with watercolors and is full of advice, with plenty of room for your own notes. ($17 at OSU Extension, Lane County, website.)

Pruners or backpack sprayer – “Gifts? Well, how about a nice pair of Felcos,” said Neil Bell, an Extension horticulturist in Marion and Polk counties. “Everyone with a garden needs to prune something and those are excellent and not cheap!”  He also suggests a 3- to 4-gallon backpack sprayer for those applying horticultural oils or other pesticides. (Felco pruners $33-$66 at Felco website. Backpack sprayer comes in variable prices, starting at about $50.)

Master Gardener program registration – “Why not make the 2015 OSU Master Gardener classes that extra special stocking stuffer or gift under the tree,” said Liz Olsen, Extension’s Master Gardener coordinator in Lincoln County. Registration varies by county so check with your local Master Gardener program. 

Mason bee starter kit – For a backyard fruit-tree grower, Brooke Edmunds, Extension’s horticulturist for Linn, Benton and Lane counties, recommends a mason bee set up. “Give a decorative house, paper tubes and a coupon to get cocoons in the spring,” she said. “Non-aggressive and fun to watch, mason bees are great early spring pollinators of fruit trees.”  ($15 for a basic house to more than $100. A middle-of-the-road kit that includes the guide “Mason Bees” is available from Crown Bees, a Northwest company, for $54.95.) 

Extension field guides – One last thought is to double up with a pair of popular field guides. “Trees to Know in Oregon”  ($18) features aides to help you identify hundreds of trees, including full-color photos. “Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests” covers 100 shrubs with more than 500 photos. ($12) 







Author: Kym Pokorny