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It is one of life’s delights – getting a gift that conveys understanding. All gifts are lovely, but a thoughtful gift that meets an uncommunicated need is extra nice. If that thoughtful gift is something unusual, out of the ordinary, well, that’s fun at a whole new level.
The amygdala is the part of our brain that manages surprises-both good and bad. It triggers a series of responses, forcing us to pay attention while getting our bodies ready to act. Good surprises are good for our health, wellbeing, and relationships.
Table of Contents
- 1. A Pair of Fabulous Garden Boots
- 2. A Good Book
- 3. A Laboratory Soil Test – With Quantified Advice
- 4. Small Batch Fertilizers for Indoor Plants
- 5. Give a Gift That Makes A Statement
- 6. A Productive Space-Saver
- 7. Growth Boosting 70W LED Lights
- 8. A Seedling Growth Booster Mat
- 9. A High-Pressure Washer (Gasoline)
- 10. Make A Garden Feature Gift
- 11. Something Small
- 12. Handy Hose Storage
- 13. A Fruit Tree
- 14. Give a Fountain
- 15. Life As You Enter
We all need a pleasant surprise occasionally. The best kind of surprise is a thought-through, out-of-the-ordinary gift. In this piece, we’re going to explore some gift ideas together. We scoured the web, looking to find a mix of unusual gifts – we hope they’ll inspire you. We’ve also partnered with some suppliers, making it easy for you to action your plans.
1. A Pair of Fabulous Garden Boots
Being well-shod is essential (and a delight). Having footwear as comfortable in the mall as the muck would be great.
The perfect thoughtful gift is a pair of shoes or boots that are sporty, multi-seasonal, and versatile. A boot that can handle ice and is nice – functional AND fabulous.
Interesting, because there’s a company whose sole goal is to deal with muck – wet, muddy, messy muck. They call themselves the Original Muck Boot Company®.
For decades they’ve been determined to find solutions for keeping your feet warm and dry through it all. They have built the most protective, most comfortable, most reliable boots on the planet—no matter the conditions. But they’ve also managed to present that functionality beautifully. That’s a skill – and they own it.
So, looking for an unusual gift that is functional, considered, and personal – footwear is a good option, especially if the specs include:
- 100% Waterproof
- 5mm CR Flex-Foam neoprene liner is 100% waterproof with exceptional comfort, flexibility, shock absorption and heat retention properties; adjusts to the contours of your foot to resist blisters and chafing
- Cozy fleece lining
- Quick cleaning rubber outsole offers durability and traction on slick surfaces
- Pull-tab for easy on and off
- Estimated height: 15 inches
- Estimated max calf circumference: 15 inches
2. A Good Book
While the internet is quick and informative, a well-printed book offers linger-longer delights. My father always said that there is nothing as patient as paper – probably because he knew nothing of the internet.
Print is still lovely—a book you can pick up, page through, bookmark, and pass on to your children. A source of inspiration, guidance, and information, a book is a great gift.
We’ve partnered with Chelsea Green Publishing, a publishing house that has been printing conservation books since 1985. They have a huge range of potential gifts – to self or others.
I have a book I gave myself years ago. On the front inside cover page, I wrote; Given to inspire the future me, with love, from Tony. I know, I’m a bit odd – to others. Enough of me, this is about you and your choice of a perfect unusual gift. Is a book it? Here are ten titles to get you thinking:
- The Orchard Book
- A Food Forest in your Garden
- The Woodchip Handbook
- Sustainable Food Gardens
- The HEALTHY Vegetable Garden
- The FORAGER’S GARDEN
- The Ecological Gardener
- Tiny Victory Gardens
- The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments
3. A Laboratory Soil Test – With Quantified Advice
In my posts and on my YouTube channel, I regularly suggest that gardeners test their soil – at least annually. This can be done through your local extension office or using a lab.
Well, how about gifting a lab soil test – or two. Generally, a single soil test should represent the soil from a site no larger than a thousand square feet. This twin pack from SoilKit.com will allow a double test in different garden locations.
A lab-based soil test measures nutrient levels in your soil and, based on decades of research on crop nutrient requirements, determine the exact amount of each your specific crop needs for optimal growth. The total amount of each nutrient you need depends on the size of your growing area. You can see the video on this topic here.
The twin pack comes with two comprehensive lab-based soil test kits with access to our technology platform that shows you precisely what your lawn, garden, or food plot needs for a successful growing season.
solicit tests for pH, Buffer pH, phosphorus(P), potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), boron (B), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), organic matter, CEC (Soils with higher clay and organic matter content tend to have a higher CEC – cation exchange capacity)
Part of the purchase includes a unique online kit registration via your desktop or mobile device – using a QR-code. Then, after taking a mixed sample, package it in the postage-paid mailer, and drop your sample into your mailbox. The results arrive digitally via email within 48 hours of receipt at our lab. The report includes easy-to-understand recommendations distilled down the products and bag quantities needed for your crop, growing area size, and crop type.
4. Small Batch Fertilizers for Indoor Plants
Once you have your soil tested and know what to add, you can obtain it to adjust your garden’s soil health for optimal growth. The challenge is different for indoor plants.
To help indoor gardeners better care for their plants, we have partnered with Instant Plant Food, specializing in small-batch fertilizers for indoor plants. They need more than love and water; they need food too.
This is a perfect gift if you have a friend or loved one who loves their house plants. They offer 60-percent wholesale discounts for affordable case lots – if you have quite a few gardening friends.
These self-dissolving fertilizer tablets will make feeding indoor plants fuss-free for your friends – and they’ll love you for it. Packaged in packs of two or four, they’re suitable for all types of houseplants, including:
- Air plants
- Desert plants
- Potted plants
- Balcony or windowsill planters
- and self-watering containers.
The effervescent tablets easily dissolve in a jug of water, and a single tablet feeds a large tropical plant for three months and a large succulent for six months. Each packet is a year’s supply for each large pot.
Instant Plant Food™ contains all the essential nutrients your plant needs along with trace micronutrients required for a well-rounded, healthy plant diet. The product’s primary ingredients are naturally occurring minerals and an eco-friendly live fermentation of waste feedstock and molasses with a guaranteed NPK analysis of 4-3-6.
5. Give a Gift That Makes A Statement
The common adage is “Go big, or go home.” Well, bigger and longer than this, no gardener can go. You would have outdone yourself. The challenge may be, what do you give next time?
The Limelight Hydrangea Tree is a fabulous gift; it’s pretty, it makes a statement, and it will make that statement for years to come.
The hardy and reliable Limelight Hydrangea tree is an easy-to-grow tree-form hydrangea. Its creamy white blooms arrive in late summer and fade to green during fall. This unique Hydrangea tree will tolerate almost any condition.
The bloom time is lengthy and stretches from summer through fall. The flowers of the Limelight hydrangea are upright and elongated and up to 12 inches long. The blooms range from subtle green to white. These large, stunning blooms are perfect for cuttings and floral arrangements and even dry well to be used in bouquets all year long.
- Super unique tree form hydrangea adds class and beauty
- Perky green-white blooms really stand out
- Long bloom period
- Pest and disease resistant
- Extremely cold and heat hardy
- Drought and salt tolerant
- The tough and beautiful Limelight Hydrangea tree is in high demand and will sell out quickly so order yours today!
|Growing Zones||Zone 3 – 9|
|Mature Height||6-10 Feet|
|Mature Width||5-6 Feet|
Not a White Elephant
The tale of the white elephant dates back to the emperor of Siam (now Taiwan). If a courtier displeased the emperor, he would give the person a white elephant, a sacred animal, and a great honor. However, the cost of keeping an elephant was so exorbitant; it would ruin the new owner.
The Limelight Hydrangea Tree won’t be a white elephant for the gifted person. Firstly, because it’s so hardy, and secondly, I’m going to help you help them look after it.
Looking After a Limelight Hydrangea Tree
When planting your Limelight Hydrangea Tree, ensure you have the right location and conditions for your new plants to thrive. Spring and fall are ideal times to plant hydrangeas. Avoid planting hydrangeas in summer when temperatures are mid-eighties or higher.
The Limelight Hydrangea Tree grows in full sun to shade and prefers moist, well-drained, fertile soil. In hot climates, hydrangeas will generally do best with some shade. This variety’s color is not affected by soil pH (as with other hydrangeas).
Keep the soil moist but not saturated, especially in summer and in the first year after planting. Throughout its life, a hydrangea will do best with a deep watering once weekly during hot temperatures. Mulching at about 2-inches deep is highly recommended for hydrangeas. Mulching will cut back on watering needs and protect your plant in extreme temperatures.
Fertilize with a balanced slow-release fertilizer when planting and in spring. You don’t need to prune hydrangea trees, but pruning after they are done blooming can help encourage bushier growth, keep ideal shape, and renew an older plant.
The best way to prevent disease and pests is by providing the appropriate care for your plants. Proper location choice, watering, and fertilization are the keys to your success. The Limelight is a hardy hydrangea that is pest and disease resistant.
6. A Productive Space-Saver
Do you want the perfect unusual gift for your BFF (best friend forever)? Personally, I think this is a brilliant concept. Pictured is the Garden Tower 2 – a 50-plant composting vertical garden planter – a worm farm integrated with fifty growing slots on a rotatable platform.
The reason why you will only give it to your best friend forever is the price. But for best friends and significant others, this is definitely worth the investment. Also, you’ll see that there’s a BIG discount at the moment.
Recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Vertical Garden Planter,” the Garden Tower® 2 features food-grade USA-made HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic) components, FDA-approved dye, and UV-protection antioxidant package for health, durability, and recyclability.
The rotating Garden Tower® 2 composter grows 50 plants in 4 square feet while turning kitchen waste into organic fertilizer to grow organic produce.
This is so clever. The Garden Tower vertical garden planter replicates a natural ecosystem allowing plants to access nutrients recycled through organic composting processes. It allows your BFF to grow nearly any vegetables, herbs, or flowers organically easily. Weighing in at 36-pounds (~220 lbs. with moist soil), the Garden Tower stands 43-inches tall and just over two feet wide (24.g=5-inches)
Have a look at this independent review by the National Gardening Association.
7. Growth Boosting 70W LED Lights
Would giving someone a perfect growth light communicate that they light up your life? I’m not sure, but it is a handy gift, either way – and it does work wonders if used correctly.
The SANSI 70W Growth Booster Light is a rare product with a 5 out of 5-stars rating. That is rare and speaks volumes regarding the functionality of this gadget. None of the reviews pointed to any inefficiency. The only complaint logged (without losing a star) was about how the reviewer had attached it, i.e., their fault and not the products.
When you’re done with this article, take a look at this article from the World Economic Forum on the use of lights in farming to promote growth and control pests.
Please note that for younger plants, place the light further away and leave it on for longer. As the plant matures, move the light closer and shorten the exposure time. Something like this:
|Plant Groth Stage||PPFD (μmols)||Distance||Duration|
|Vegetative Stage||20.68||47.2-inches||16 – 18 hours|
|Flowering Stage||46.94||31.5-inches||12 – 16 hours|
|Fruiting Stage||187.75||15.7-inches||10 – 12 hours|
Below are the specs for this 70W LED light by SANSI.
|Number of Lights||1|
|Color Rendering Index||90|
|Special Features||Full Spectrum|
|Energy Efficiency Rating||A+|
The PPFD (the number of photons hitting the plant canopy surface per second) changes with distance, hence the table above. The suggested light timing should not be exceeded – in fruit-bearing plants, additional light exposure has a detrimental effect.
8. A Seedling Growth Booster Mat
The picture of the SunPad PRO may look like a pencil case, but it’s the potential birthplace of thousands of plants – and is, in fact, 60-inches long (5-feet) and 21-inches wide.
This gift could help the receiver propagate their new seedlings, ensuring the perfect environment for newly established root growth, plant cuttings, and germinating seeds. Designed to reliably heat the root zone between 10-20-degrees Fahrenheit above ambient air temperature, this mat can significantly shorten propagation times.
Seeds love warm, moist environments during germination. Being able to provide those temperatures earlier in the spring means earlier tomatoes at the market. Want earlier pumpkins? They need to be at least 85-degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. Heat mats can provide those perfect conditions, increasing germination and growth rates. Seedling heat mats are also useful in microgreen production. Add heat mats into your production for more successful germination rates.
- Patented double-layer
- Increases propagation success rate
- Easy to Clean
- Warms root zone to an optimal temperature
- 6-foot power cord
- 60″ L X 21″ W
- 120 VAC
- 150 Watts
- 50/60 Hertz
Heat mats are a great tool to use for winter germination. It is ideal to use SunPad Heat Mat Controller with the heat mat for more precise control. Heat mats are waterproof and easy to clean, so there is no need to move plants off the mat during watering. The mat is designed to stay on 24 hours a day. Connect multiple mats by daisy-chain connecting add-on mats. Ideally, you will want your soil temperature to stay consistently between 65-degrees Fahrenheit and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
Optimal Soil Temperatures for Germination
Below is a chart of common vegetables and their respective germination temperatures.
|Crop||Optimal Soil Temp. Germination (F)|
9. A High-Pressure Washer (Gasoline)
If you want to give an extraordinary gift, this is it. This is probably one of the most useful tools around – the type that once your friend has one, they’ll be saying: “I don’t know how I managed without it.”
QOMOTOP Gas Pressure Washer delivers 2.6 gallons a minute at 3400 PSI – enough to clean anything well. The two 12-inch wheels can get to the spot where you need it – without effort.
A 0.95-gallon fuel tank helps it run for as long as you need it to get that job done. Your friend will have five nozzles to choose from: 0-degrees, 15-degrees, 25-degrees, 45 degrees, and a soap nozzle for getting things clean.
The QOMOTOP Gas Pressure Washer is easy to move and store and can be used to clean walls, vehicles, driveways, floors, terraces, and almost anything with its 30-foot pipe. Tell your friend not to use it on people or animals, though. Three thousand four hundred pounds per inch is high enough to cause serious injury. Your friend will always need safety gear when working with the QOMOTOP Gas Pressure Washer.
And while we’re on the subject of safety, never buy a high-pressure washer that is not safety-rated and certified. This machine is EPA III and CARB compliant.
This is a beast of a machine, and the fact that it’s not dependent on a power socket means that you could take it anywhere to use – even your polytunnel floor’s barrier material.
Our partners, QOMOTOP, offer a 2-year high-quality service. Your friend can contact them via email if they encounter any problems. QOMOTOP will provide them with a satisfactory solution as quickly as possible!
10. Make A Garden Feature Gift
Are you thinking about adding some life to your (friend’s) yard? How about a really cool Double Knock Out Rose Tree as a gift?
They are so easy; just remove them from the box and plant them. This rose tree will look great in your (friend’s) landscape as a centerpiece. It’s very showy and will produce an abundance of thick double blooms from spring through fall.
Do you have decorative containers on your patio? The Double Knock Out® Rose Tree is perfect for containers! Plant in a container and enjoy. For more color, plant flowers around the base of the container with some vines, and boom! It will look like a professional designed it.
This Rose tree is deficient in maintenance. Use it on your patio and enjoy. The mature size is about 4 to 5-feet tall and 3 to 4-feet wide.
- Be sure to select the right spot for your rose tree by following the following recommendations.
- You can plant any time of the year; just take care to avoid the most extreme temperatures in winter and summer.
- Full to part sun are ideal for roses. These plants love the sun. You will get the most prolific blooming in full sun.
- Rose trees are adaptable to any well-drained soil. Choose a good quality potting mix like our Special Planting Mix when planting in containers or amending sandy, clay, or nutrient-poor soil.
Water your rose tree well when planting. Keep the soil moist for the first month. Watering deeply once or twice a week versus a little bit every day is ideal for helping your plant’s roots establish quickly and grow well. Once established, allow the soil to dry before watering.
Use 6-month slow-release fertilizer when planting and in spring. Use again in mid-summer when growing your tree rose in a container.
Prune lightly anytime to maintain shape. If heavy pruning is required, do this in late winter or early spring.
11. Something Small
Sometimes it’s the smaller things in life that matter most – like a thoughtful gift. This dwarf Juniper from Japan is the most popular evergreen in the U.S. When we think of a traditional bonsai and what it should look like, we think of a “Juniper Procumbens Nana.” They are very hardy, long-lived, and tolerate many adverse conditions.
This Juniper Bonsai is 17-years old, stands 6-inches tall, and is in an eight-inch black rectangle ceramic container. Like people, no two bonsai trees are alike. We have partnered with Bonsai Boy New York to make others available – whether you want to start one or take over an established one.
Still, I think this is a lovely gift for a person that will take care of it. They aren’t high maintenance but do require care, humidity control, and feeding. Do you think your friend would want one? Then take a look and find a good fit. Some are expensive, but quite a few are quite affordable.
12. Handy Hose Storage
As we start entering the colder season, hose reel care becomes more important. We know that, for some people, rolling a hose up after every use can be a pain. Do you have a friend that needs some help with managing their garden hose? Then consider getting this gift.
The QOMOTOP Retract Hose Reel rewinds slowly and safely. By just tugging at the extended hose, you can guide it back to the reel as it rolls up automatically. The retractor has a guidance system to ensure the hose rolls up tidy, without the trouble of kinking or tangling.
The QOMOTOP retractable reel pivots on a bracket, making it possible to align where the hose needs to be. This makes it possible to reach every any corner of the yard within a 180-degree span. When you need to use the hose, simply pull it out to the required length. The automatic lock system will prevent it from rolling back – that is until you give it a tug after use.
Fitted to the 100-foot main hose is a pray gun able to adjust to eight different patterns. Each pattern is designed for different watering needs – from hosing down the driveway to watering seedlings. Additional to the 100-foot main hose is a 6.7-foot leader house connecting a faucet to the hose reel.
The hoses are all-weather flexible and durable new polymer with high-quality brass connectors, ensuring leak-resistant construction and long-lasting service life. The pressure limit is a high 6-bar.
The complete package includes:
- 1 x OT QOMOTOP Hose Reel with a 100-foot Main Hose and a 6.7-foot Leader Hose
- 1x 8 Patterns Spray Gun
- 1 x Mounting Bracket
- 1 x Installation Kit
- 1 x User Manual
- 1 x Service Card (1 Year). QOMOTOP after-sales service is available any time. Please feel free to contact them for help.
I wouldn’t mind a friend getting me one. This is nice.
13. A Fruit Tree
Pictured are plums from the Great Pollinator Toka Plum Tree. It has the following to offer as a gift.
- Beautiful Spring Flowers
- Unforgettable Bubblegum Scent and Candy Flavor
- Perfect Plum Pollinator
- Beautiful Vase Shape
Sometimes the hardest working plants in your garden aren’t the superstars. Toka Plum Tree (Prunus ‘Toka’) is one of those plants. Oh, it’s a great plum tree that has been around for a very long time – since 1911 to be exact – and you will love the super-sweet fruit it gives you. The fruit is amazing. Nicknamed the ‘bubblegum plum’ for its distinct fragrance and taste, like candy. It makes one’s mouth water even before you take a bit (like yours is now). But that isn’t the only reason you’ll want to plant Toka in your home orchard this year.
You’ll want to plant it because Toka is prized for its ability to produce tons of pollen each year and give you a super-abundant harvest from all of the other plum trees in your garden! It is self-fertile, so it doesn’t require another tree to set fruit. If this is the only tree you have room for, you won’t be disappointed, but boy, will it make any other plum trees sing.
In addition to the sweet fruit, this vase-shaped tree also gives you scads of creamy, white flowers in an unforgettable spring show. It will grow just about anywhere, in full sun to part shade, and laughs at cold winters – and is comfortable in hardiness Zones 3 to 8.
Here are the vital statistics below.
|Brand||Nature Hills’ Choice|
|Botanical Name||Prunus ‘Toka’|
|Mature Height||15 – 20 feet|
|Mature Spread||12 – 18 feet|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|
|Fall Color||Burgundy / Purple|
Plan to put at least one of these easy-to-grow fruit trees in your garden this year and reap the benefits of Toka Plum Tree for years to come!
If you’re interested, through our partnership with Nature Hills Nursery, we have a whole range of fruit trees to offer.
14. Give a Fountain
Would you be interested in giving a fountain as a gift? I know – the heading said to make their lives easier. Well, consider this; the Sundaze Fountains are solar run.
That makes life easier—no need to get a contractor to lay cables and pipes. Your friend gets a gift fountain delivered to them. All they need to do is place it where they want it, fill it with water, connect the solar, and have a trickling fountain in their garden.
It adds a charming focal point and the soothing sounds of flowing water to their outdoor space. The fountain runs in direct sunlight but has a battery unit that will power the fountain on overcast or cloudy days. A fully charged battery will power the fountain for up to four hours. To run on battery mode, simply press the Battery On/Off button.
|Dimensions||22.5″ Diameter x 46″ H|
|Water Capacity||4.5 Gallons|
|Power Source||Solar & Battery Backup|
|Use & Care||Fountains should always be covered or brought indoors before freezing weather occurs|
|Disclaimer||Color may vary slightly from product images due to differences in the light source (e.g., sun, fluorescent, incandescent), monitor display settings, and individual perception|
|Warranty||1-Year Manufacturer Warranty|
15. Life As You Enter
And for our final unusual gift. Unusual but stunning. The BloomingTables’ patent-pending design allows users to grow a wide range of plant species. Whether growing herbs, cultivating microgreens, or enjoying the beauty of succulents indoors – BloomingTables will make a beautiful addition to any home or office.
- White Painted Pine Wood
- 34H 36L 12W
- Waterproofing acrylic tub
- Twist-to-open drain valve
- Supports up to 200lbs
How it Works
The BloomingTables are lined with an acrylic tub, ensuring a leak and mess-free environment.
Every BloomingTable is equipped with a twist-to-open drain to valve – allowing you to drain off any excess water. Just water, wait, then drain!
Holding the tempered glass down are UV-resistant suctions cups that make it easy to remove for watering and to tend to your plants.
There are a wide array of succulent species for your Blooming table, with a stunning variety of colors and textures. Succulents can thrive in indoor spaces without needing intensive maintenance or frequent watering. These exotic and unique plants come in over 20,000 varieties, with species suited for all living conditions.
Grow microgreens indoors with ease. Microgreens are a powerhouse of health, with more than 10-40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts. In only 1-2 weeks, your BloomingTable can produce an abundance of microgreens for addition to salads, smoothies, or to be consumed alone. Join the urban farming movement today!
While technically still succulents, these creatures are an amazing way to bring the desert to you! Cactus are deficient maintenance and come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Add rocks and wood to elevate your desert landscape!
We hope that you enjoyed our selection of unusual gifts for gardeners. While some of them were imaginative, I am the first to agree that others weren’t at all. Imaginative or not, we hope that you found a possible candidate to communicate the value you have for a friend or a loved one amidst the variety.
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