February 2018

Nifty, fun and beautiful gifts for gardeners and nature lovers

Ikebana bowls. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Terrariums big and small, ornaments and plant tags that actually work top our list of holiday gifts for the gardeners in your life. Here are our suggestions:

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse

Air plant terrarium. Photo courtesy IMA Greenhouse.

Ornaments are seasonal memory jogs, reminding us of the gift giver or a special event. The mouth-blown, hand-painted glass ornaments from Europe are stunning, especially the hummingbird ($41) and watering can ($35.90). Complete the package with a miniature bonsai tree ($19) and “Bonsai Survival Manual” by Colvin Lewis ($22.95). Other bird ornaments range $5.99 to $11.25.

Mouth blown glass ornaments and bonsai. Photo courtesy IMA Greenhouse.

For lofty trendsetters, “air plants are HOT this year,” says Lynne Steinhour Habig, greenhouse shop coordinator. The mini-glass terrarium is the perfect vessel for keeping the plant airborne ($17, plus $3.75 for the plant). There also is a table model terrarium.

Dammann’s Lawn, Garden & Landscape Centers

Terrariums planted with succulents. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Dammann’s south and west stores offer pre-made or made-to-order terrariums or miniature gardens in glass bowls, domes and enclosed cases for $24.99 on up. Add a red or gold ribbon or place a small ornament in the terrarium for a festive look and place on an end table, buffet or coffee table. Change the decoration for the season.

Artifacts Gallery, Broad Ripple

Indianapolis artist Sean Gray creates beautiful ikebana ceramic bowls and plants them with lucky bamboo ($40). Gray was born with autism and until he took up art, tended to be destructive. “Through my art, this has changed,” he says in his bio. He took a sculpture class at Westfield High School. “In this class, I found that I like working with my hands. I especially like working with clay.”

In 2003, Gray started studying ceramics at the Indianapolis Art Center and in 2005, was named Best in the Beginners’ Division. “I find that creating art gives me a sense of purpose and control over my life and now I have a business, Seanware,” Gray says.

Ginkgo jewelry. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Michael Michaud picks up leaves on his world treks and turns the pieces of flora into cast works of art made in the United States. The process in bronze, sterling silver or gold captures each natural detail of the leaf for Silver Seasons Jewelry. Some pieces have genuine stones and pearls. In his Gingko Leaf Jewelry Collection is a bracelet $82; small pin, $67; large pin, $88.

CobraHead BioMarker Plant Markers

Gardeners know that plant tags that won’t fade, break or disintegrate are to die for. “We came across a truly weatherproof label that was printable with a laser printer, or writable with a permanent marker,” says Noel Valdes, owner of CobraHead, known best for its weeder.

BioMarkers. Photo courtesy Cobrahead

The plastic plant markers (15 for $29.95), made of sturdy plastic in light stone, medium brown and dark green, have withstood several years of testing in all kinds of weather, from Iowa to Texas. BioMarkers won a 2012 Green Thumb Award from an independent panel of garden writers and editors in conjunction with the Direct Gardening Association. Winning products are recognized for their uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity.

“What I like about these plant labels is they are bigger, so you can read what’s written on them without having to bend down and pull out the labels. Plus, the natural colors blend in with the garden,” says Carol Michel, a south side Indianapolis gardener whose award-winning blog is May Dreams Gardens.

World’s Coolest Rain Gauge

The World’s Coolest Rain Gauge has a solid copper water-collecting flute that fits in a rust-resistant, powder-coated stand. Inside the flute is an unbreakable blue polycarbonate measuring tube that floats up to show how much rain has fallen. When there’s no rain, the tube falls back into the flute and the gauge turns into a lovely garden ornament.

World's Coolest Rain Gauge. (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

“I love this rain gauge because I can leave it out all winter. It’s great not to worry that it will crack when it freezes, and it’s attractive,” says author C.L. Fornari of Massachusetts, who blogs at

This rain gauge is so cool, I bought one for myself for Christmas from Wildbirds Unlimited for $47. It also is available at the World’s Coolest Rain Gauge, where you can watch a video about the device.

Gold Leaf Gloves

Fit for royalty, Gold Leaf Gloves have been endorsed by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society and are used by gardeners at Buckingham Palace. Gold Leaf Gloves are made of water-resistant deerskin leather, Lycra, nylon, foam VELCRO and other high quality materials. The gloves start out snug, but as you wear them they stretch and conform to the contours of your hand like a custom-tailored glove. Available in men’s and women’s sizes at Gardeners Supply Company. Gold Leaf Soft Touch is $38.95 and Tough Touch, $49.95.

Gold Leaf Tough Touch Gloves. Photo courtesy Gardeners Supply Co.

Gold Leaf Soft Touch gloves. Photo courtesy Gardeners Supply Co.




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