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Dig Right Minute

As towering Tannenbaums, pretty poinsettias and candescent candles beautify homes this holiday season, it’s the perfect time to make your garden wish list for the New Year. Bring on spring with a bumper crop of ideas for making green thumbs even greener next season:

  • Kids may love shiny new toys, but what grown-up gardener wouldn’t love some gleaming new garden tools? Ratchet up the fun and fruit of your efforts with some new ratchet pruners, available in heavy duty and compact formats, depending on your needs and intended use.
  • If your resolution is to be more organized and space-efficient, you can browse for a number of products and tools to help keep things in their place. As you’re buying and saving seeds, for example, store them in a kit with a filing system and labels. Clean up your potting shed or garden area with new shelving, containers or other storage systems.
  • Fashionistas meet gardenistas with some spiffy new apparel for gardening in style. Gardeners always appreciate a new hat, shirt, vest, gloves, garden belt or tote, available at local garden stores or your favorite online catalog.
  • How about some hummingbirds for a holiday idea? Help attract graceful hummingbirds to the yard with a hummingbird feeder; tuck a recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar into the gift wrap.
  • Brighten up the indoors – especially after the holiday decorations come down in January – with a floral gift, like ever-popular amaryllis, poinsettia or Christmas cactus. You can also buy or order other indoor plants that will lend color and beauty to a home, from bonsai plants to potted gardenias. Rosemary plants evoke the holidays, with the added bonus of functionality for use in a variety of recipes. You can order such plants online and have them shipped or pick them up at a local garden center.
  • Perhaps you canned or pickled some vegetables from your garden this year or made some homemade salsa, jam or giardiniera that’s been sealed with a long shelf life. Give a gift of your garden and your kitchen as a “thank you” or gesture of seasonal goodwill. 
  • Give the gift of new garden ideas and inspiration with tickets to the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show, running March 12-20 at Navy Pier in Chicago. Tickets are sold at a special discounted price through December 31. www.chicagoflower.com.

Don’t forget to call before you dig! Whenever you’re disturbing the ground, especially when planting trees, shrubs, groundcovers or plants, be safe and call JULIE at 811 or log onto JULIE’s www.illinois1call.com website and fill out an e-request. It’s free and crucial to avoid hitting underground lines, even in areas where you assume it’s safe to dig.

Dig Right Minute
by Tony Abruscato
Director, Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Sponsored in part by JULIE, The Chicago Flower & Garden Show presents realistic, as well as DIY solutions to inspire, educate and motivate gardening enthusiasts and newbies alike.  Blooming at Navy Pier - March 12-20, 2016.