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Beth Otway’s Gardening Gifts for Christmas

I feel such an uplifting, happy sensation when I find the perfect gift. I have been busy testing out products, searching for special gifts for gardeners. Here are my recommendations:

Membership of a horticultural society would make a super present. There are many friendly gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey, where you can learn about gardening and make new friends. If you’re looking for a society near you, or a friend or relation, visit www.surreyhorticulturalfederation.org

I love growing Sweet Peas. For many years now I have used Deep Rootrainers, from Haxnicks, to sow my Sweet Pea seeds, with great results. The Rootrainers Racking Station is a super space saver; it holds eight of the Rootrainers seed trays over two levels. The Rootrainers Racking Station lifts the trays up, making the plants easier to tend.

If you or a friend would like to make your own Sweet Pea wigwam, why not book onto a course with Nicki from Willow and Yoga. Nicki’s workshop is nestled in a small woodland, near Dorking in Surrey, where Nicki offers courses using a selection of different willows to make traditionally woven baskets, bird feeders, Willow balls, hearts, sculptures, Christmas decorations, wreaths and gifts. Living willow courses are available during February and March. Full day courses include materials, tea, cake, and home-made soup with bread and cheese. Gluten free and vegetarian diets are catered for.

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who enjoys traditional crafts, membership of the South of England Hedge Laying Society might be the perfect present. The society holds regular training events in coppicing and hedge laying, with an annual Hedge Laying Competition.
Books are wonderful presents. This year my book recommendation is Botanicum from Big Picture Press, a wonderful and truly beautiful book that’s certain to delight the whole family.

This autumn, I received a very special gift of a standard holly from some dear friends. I am thrilled with the tree – Ilex ‘Nellie R. Stevens’, a lovely female holly with glossy leaves and orange-red berries, purchased from Squire’s Garden Centre in Milford.

Over the past couple of years, I have bought some beautiful hand-made Christmas decorations from Sarah Beevers at the Loseley Christmas Fair. Sarah also makes botanical themed jewellery and pieces inspired by nature, for more information visit www.etsy.com/shop/sarahbeeversdesign

A wonderful gift at Christmas, or at any time of year, is the gift of garden membership. The recipient of your gift will enjoy unlimited visits during opening times, with many gardens offering other exclusive, member-only benefits. We are fortunate to have so many glorious gardens open to us; it’s important to support gardens and charitable organisations, to ensure we protect these beautiful spaces of historical and horticultural importance, their plant collections, horticultural knowledge and training opportunities, for future generations. Many gardens offer gift membership. You’ll find details of gardens in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex offering garden membership on my website.

I’ve used hundreds of pairs of secateurs; the only secateurs I recommend are Felco secateurs. Felco offer full servicing for their secateurs, replacing any parts, and posting the secateurs back as good as new – a wonderful surprise present!

Reusable Velcro plant ties are a great stocking filler, ideal for very young, or older hands that struggle with knots.

Christmas is the season of goodwill. Why not volunteer to help in a friend or relation’s garden. Gardening is uplifting; it’s heartwarming to share the experience and the joy.

Happy Christmas!

Beth Otway is VantagePoint’s Gardening writer. www.pumpkinbeth.com 


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