Best gift to give a gardener in the festive season


Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in southwest London and houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

A couple of things make Christmas the best time of the year; the lights, the decorations, the Christmas movies and the best of it all, the exchanging of gifts.

This is the time to get your special people gifts. When gifting a person, the most important thing is to ensure that the giftee can resonate with the gift. It is not enough to just say ‘It is the thought that counts.’

Gardeners are probably some of the easiest people to gift. The secret to impressing a gardener is to get them a gift that is related to nature; flora and fauna. These gifts can go for as little as Sh800 to as high as Sh500,000.

Nyambura Magochi, an avid gardener, speaks fondly about some of the best Christmas gifts that she has ever received.

“Every Christmas we have a meeting with the Kenya Horticultural Society and we exchange gifts. The best gifts that I have received are plants. I was given this berry fruit and we harvested the berries for the first time this year. And it makes me feel really good. I have also been given Christmas cactus and orchids. When I moved to my new place, my mother got me a large flower pot. This showed that she took time to consider what she could get me,” Ms Nyambura reminisces emotionally.

She adds: “I love plants. When you give me a plant, I will take care of it and every time I look at it, I remember the person who gave it to me. For instance, every time I see the berry plant, I remember the person who gifted me.”

Get them the ultimate gardening experience.

Nothing beats an all-expense paid trip to some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. This screams memories to be made and is bound to get a passionate gardener all giddy and giggling. Plants have the secret ability to lift spirits.

A wonderful garden experience for a giftee who is ecstatic about gardening would be a trip to the botanical gardens which exude an aura of scenic beauty, great scents and wildlife.

Kew Gardens, London

Located in South London, the Kew Botanical Gardens is a respite from the hustle and bustle associated with England’s Capital city, London. Its six greenhouses are home to some of the world’s rarest of plant species and span on a 1000-hectare piece of land. The garden hosts the oldest potted plant; a cycad that has been growing in it for more than 220 years.

It is no wonder that this garden is on the Unesco World Heritage List. In each greenhouse, the plant’s original conditions are recreated to protect some of the rare plants. With over 30,000 species of plants, a gardener would be lost for words with excitement with all the plants available to explore. The six different greenhouses include the Arboretum which plays host to over 2000 tree species, the Palm House which is a recreation of a rainforest and the Temperate House which has some of the world’s temperate zone plants. According to the garden’s website, it is open every day between 10am and 3pm and can be accessed by rail, bus or river.

Kirstenbosch Gardens, South Africa

Located on the eastern slopes of the Table Mountains, Kirstenbosch Gardens has over 7000 species of plants and sits on 1,300 acres of land. It is the ideal place for a gardener who enjoys hiking and climbing too, as there will be a lot of ground to cover as you traverse the Gardens.


Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, South Africa. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK 

Considered one of the best 10 botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch has rare and endangered species of flora that have been nurtured since the early 1900s.

Singapore Botanic Gardens in Singapore

This is Singapore’s oldest garden and is ideal for plant lovers and those who enjoy being outside. It is recognised as a Unesco Heritage Site and has different sections including a rainforest, a National Orchid Garden, and a ginger garden. The National Orchid Garden hosts over 1,000 species of orchids and 2,000 hybrids of orchids. Visitors are also exposed to Swan Lake which is home to different species of aquatic plants and fishes. The name comes from the beautiful swans from Amsterdam that glide across the lake.

The Linnaean Gardens of Uppsala, Sweden

The Uppsala Streets in Sweden have maintained its natural scenic beauty with thousands of trees and potted ornamental flowers. The gardens in Uppsala are all remarkable, particularly the Linnaean Gardens of Uppsala which is considered a living plant museum with over 8,000 species of plants from across the world. Dating back to the 1700s, the botanical garden is open all year round and is set up in the French Style with pruned hedges, flower beds and straight paths.

Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona, US

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona is the largest desert plant garden in the world. It boasts over 50,000 different desert plants. To enjoy this array of flora and fauna that surround the garden, the best time for a visit will be in the evening as that is when the desert comes to life. While taking part in a tour equipped with flashlights, one gets to see the nocturnal animals that thrive in the desert.


View of the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

If a trip outside the country is not in the books this season, accompanying a gardener to the Nairobi Arboretum, Karura Forest and other splendid gardens within the country is just as good.

Gardening books

Gardening books provide insight, advice and guidance to gardeners. Some of the best gardening books include; The Complete Gardener by Monty Don, The New Kitchen Garden by Anna Pavord, and The Garden Flowers by Christopher Lloyd’s. The Complete Gardener follows Monty Don’s gardening journey where he provides recommendations, organic techniques to utilise in your gardening and how to create a habitat in your garden for local wildlife.

Depending on the type of plants or gardening that your giftee enjoys; be it flowers, succulents or organic gardening, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the type of book to pick.

Plants to add to their collection

There is no avid gardener who can say No to a plant. When gifting a plant, ensure that you understand the conditions that the giftee lives in to determine whether to gift a house plant or an outdoor plant. It is also important to understand the weather patterns of the place to ensure that you get them a plant that will thrive.

Benjamin Mwongela-a plant vendor advises on some of the plants to get a gardener this festive season.

“Christmas Cactus flowers are some of the most common plant gifts during the Christmas season. It produces red flowers making it an ideal Christmas plant gift. Poinsettias also have red leaves that bloom well during the Christmas season. The poinsettias can be planted in vases in a place with moderate light. They can be placed on the balcony or near the entrance to a house," he says.

He adds: " Cypress is also used as a Christmas tree that you can decorate with very nice lights. You can get them a Cypress Christmas tree that is four to five feet tall, for them to decorate for the festive season. A cypress Christmas tree can go for about Sh1,000."


Christmas cactus. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Other plants to give a gardener are the fiddle leaf fig tree, bonsai trees, the variegated monstera and the pink princess philodendrons. Getting your giftee some of the rarest and slightly expensive plants will excite them.

Gardener's tools

Gifting a gardener cannot be complete without a set of gardening gloves, a cross-back apron, gardening clogs or gumboots. Being properly dressed for the garden is bound to give any gardener confidence as they continue with their hobby. Do not forget your giftee's pruning shears. Other essential tools for a gardener are a hand trowel, spade, rake, hoe and a garden hose.

Another gardening gift for a gardener can be wind chimes because the soothing sounds emanating from the wind chimes can help them relax and unwind. You can also get a handmade bee hotel or a bonsai starter kit. When gifting a gardener, remember to give them a gift that is relatable to the hobby they so much enjoy.

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