On Black Friday this year I provided you gardeners with a means of getting what you really want for Christmas. How many took my advice, printed the article, and left it laying around for loved ones to see? Those who did are allowed to gloat for the rest of this writing.
I know what the rest of you got. We get the same thing every year, usually prefaced by the excited non-gardening giver saying, “I knew you’d love this because you’re a gardener.” The gift is usually something beautiful, but with limited purpose.
Somehow the presumption exists that a flower gardener likes pictures of flowers as much as the flower itself, that an outdoor gardener also enjoys houseplants, and that a vegetable gardener will appreciate flowers. Admittedly, in winter months a picture of a bloom can lift the flower gardener’s spirits, but of course said photo will never take the place of an actual blossom. Nevertheless, gifts received by the gardener will always include items like calendars with a different flower arrangement or garden scene every month and cumbersome books suitable only for the coffee table.
I got a pretty calendar last year from my Secret Santa at work. In March I had the vague sense I’d seen the new month’s scene before, so I cheated and inspected the 12 months at once. Sure enough! The same flowers were used in different arrangements throughout the calendar. February’s pink roses appeared again in June only paired with white daisies instead of magenta zinnias. Oh, the pretty containers were different month to month, crockery pitchers, enameled coffeepots, red glass vases. But the flowers were the same, and since the flowers were the same, a gardener would appreciate the calendar less than normal folk. Too bad our non-gardening givers don’t know about the new Dave’s Garden calendar.
Gardeners get oceans of lotions for Christmas. What are our loved ones trying to tell us? I wear gloves when I garden, and I still get lotions. They have nice names like Harvest Essence or Herbal Apple. Non-gardeners don’t know that apples aren’t herbs or that the scent of harvest is dependent upon what you’re harvesting. They just think our hands are too dry.
Coffee table gardening books can be enjoyable the first time through, but are usually too frou-frou for the gardener’s long-term enjoyment. Frequently only common names are used, if the photos are captioned with names at all. They rarely reveal cultivars, and will frequently leave out one plant name in that perfect combination of three plants, leaving the frustrated gardener to try and figure out what the third plant in that perfect combination is.
Gardeners get cute country-style plaques. Well, they’re cute if you like country style. If you’ve been gardening a few years, you probably have plenty and you got another one this year. Did it say, “Garden more, work less?” Or did it say, “Time Began in a Garden?” They don’t say, “Bunny Crossing” or “Dad’s Garden” because they’re always for hanging on walls indoors. We don’t get the outdoor type that adds whimsy to our gardens. The plaques may be made of wood or cross-stitched, and they’re usually lovely. No gardener needs dozens however. I bet you didn’t need the one you got this year.
And of course we got pretty plant pots for Christmas. I love those. Sometimes they’re ceramic, sometimes painted clay, sometimes made of a more exotic material. I’ve even gotten interesting metal ones. Several have the attached saucer tray. I would love them more if they had holes in the bottom. The gift ones never do.
Making fun of the same gifts we receive every year may reek of ingratitude. The essence of gratitude is expressed in a quote by Melodie Beattie frequently passed around via e-mail. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
For that reason, we shall enjoy our lotions, and relish our wall hangings, our coffee table books, and our pretty pots without the holes. We’ll keep the jokes about the same old gifts just between us gardeners. And maybe next year some hybridizer will give us the blue tulip. Merry Christmas, everyone!