WAXAHACHIE, TX — Another year has flown by and the holidays are almost upon us again! Years past have seen me with gloves, tarps, clippers, shovels, etc. high on my gift-giving list, and they are still good choices. But there are some other fun ones I would like to mention, so I delved into the file of pictures, magazine articles and other advertisements I collected all year to find these fun, and sometimes useful, gifts.
The bottle tree is very popular this year and especially fun if you supply multicolored glass bottles to go on it — full or empty. They make charming additions to any garden area.
Of course, a gardener would love an actual tree. Texas-native trees will be cherished for years to come, and Christmastime is not too late to plant a container-grown tree. When selecting a tree, be sure to remember our alkaline clay soil, and stay away from the exotic ones advertised in the newspapers and catalogues if you want it to flourish outside.
My brother’s favorite gift last year was a matching pair of “boot cleaners,” one for the back door and one for the front door. I had a bit of trouble finding the ones with the brown brushes, but most farm and feed stores have these year-round.
I get bulb baskets for our children’s families since they are pretty easy on busy moms around the holidays. The grandchildren can plant them in the yard after the holidays and see if they will come up year after year. I usually avoid tulips for the Texas families, since they are more of an annual here in the South. Star of Bethlehem and amaryllis are both good choices that will come back bigger and stronger year after year, as do narcissi and daffodils. You can even buy your own bulbs and make your own, just be sure to chill the bulbs first!
Last but not least are color-changing solar lights that add a bit of whimsy to your landscaping. Available at some local stores and online, they are a fun and welcome addition to the dreary days of winter.
Have a great holiday; be careful; and be ready to start another year. I’m going to try to look at some theme gardens for Texas next year, so stay tuned!
Written by Nancy Fenton, Ellis County Master Gardener
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