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The latest thinking on ecological landscapes. Useful tips to improve our environment

Holiday Gift Ideas with a Native Gardening Twist

Enough with the ugly sweaters, run-of-the-mill Amazon gift cards, overpriced fruit-of-the-month club, and belly-bomber fruitcake!  Why not give the gardeners you love a gift that they will love?  The gift of native gardening!

Here are some ideas for your holiday shopping:

1) Membership to a Native Plant Society

No matter where your gift recipient lives, there is a native plant society nearby.  Some states have their own native plant organization (ex: California Native Plant Society), while others states may “share” a native plant society (ex: The Native Plant Center,  Native Plant Trust). You might want to consider purchasing a membership for your loved ones with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, which provides native plant information for the entire United States. Give the gift that educates, inspires and advocates for the environment by purchasing a native plant society membership for family and friends, and pick up a membership for yourself while you’re at it!  Many of these native plant societies also run their own native plant sales, which brings us to another gift idea…

2) Gift Cards for Native Plants

Local native plant nurseries are my first choice for buying native plants, especially when they specialize in regional native plants that are grown from seed. Get in touch with a local native plant nursery located near your gift recipient and see if they can issue a gift card electronically (even a simple email to your giftee will do!). When the growing season begins your gift recipient can pick out the best native plants for their landscape with the valuable guidance of the local native nursery staff.

Consider buying a gift card from an online native plant vendor that sells live native plants or native seeds. Stick with companies and organizations that specialize in native plants, and favor vendors located in the gift recipient’s region. Shopping tip – if the vendor also sells problematic nonnative plants, find another source.  When looking up native plants for sale online, I found an online “native wildflowers nursery” in the U.S. selling nonnative vinca, English ivy, and Japanese pachysandra.  Those are all problematic nonnative plants that naturalize and displace our ecologically-valuable native plants.

Depending on your region, good online vendors of native plants and/or seeds include: Izel Native Plants (a marketplace for plants grown in multiple regions), Prairie Moon Nursery (based in MN), Prairie Nursery (based in WI), Mid-Atlantic Natives (based in VA), Plant More Natives (based in VA), Wild Seed Project (based in ME), Pinelands Direct Native Plants (based in NJ), Toadshade Wildflower Farm (based in NJ), Amanda’s Garden (based in NY), Larner Seeds (based in CA) and Las Pilitas Nursery (based in CA).

3) Books For Ecologically-Minded Gardeners

Of course, I would love it if you gifted a copy or two of my new book, The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening.  I explain how to use ecological design techniques and native plants to help our many different types of pollinators in crisis.  The Pollinator Victory Garden is available from your favorite bookseller or on this website in two special packages.

There are many other terrific books on native gardening and the environment. Always useful are books that address the native plants of the reader’s particular region.  In addition, here is just a handful of great books I recommend:  Nature’s Best Hope by Dr. Doug Tallamy,  The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature by Sue Stuart-Smith, Growing and Propagating Wildflowers by Harry R. Phillips, Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast: A Natural History, by Carol Gracie, The Humane Gardener, by Nancy Lawson, Ecology for Gardeners, by Steven B. Carroll and Steven Salt, and To Speak for the Trees by Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

4) Virtual Landscape Consulting 

Does your friend or loved one need more of a personal touch, with expertise tailored to them and their landscape?  Look no further and order a Virtual Landscape Consulting Package from EcoBeneficial.

Whatever native gardening gifts you decide to give, your gifts will go a long way to making someone happy and improving our fragile environment!

Happy holidays from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

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