November is for orchids.. and christmas shopping. Need ideas?

In November, things begin to happen. The days get really short (I’ve been catching myself feeling ornery because daylight is wasted) and temperatures get lower. But have a really good look at your plants. These two factors often affect things loitering in your window. Your Thanksgiving cactus in bloom right now is one sign of fall. But this is another magical time – For orchids!

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Crystal (yes I name my orchids) has been my longest resident, being a hand me down from mom. She is a very ambitious one, sending out two stalks at once.
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Beau has mittens!

If you have a look at those bizarre, alienlike protrusions jutting out of the pot, some of them have a whitish coating called velamen (this is the root) but you may also notice others that are glossier, and greener. They kind of look like a mitten.Those aren’t roots! If you see those, you will be soon rewarded with another flush of blooms. Take care to avoid damaging or bumping it. And just as an indication of how fast it happens, I water these orchids very deeply every week (in the sink where they drain freely) and 2 weeks ago, there was less flowering action back then, and even some didn’t have any! So don’t give up. Orchids will rebloom. They can rebloom at any time, but I see it happen the most for Phalaenopsis orchids in the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you look closely at your new growth you’ll be able to see the difference. I have two new growths here, a root (red) and a flower stalk. Once you figure it out, you’ll recognize it really quickly.

 

 

Moving right along… we can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer.

 

Christmas is around the corner.

 

 

So… you have a gardener on your shopping list. You need to get them a few small gifts.. maybe a stocking stuffer or two.. maybe a small gift to top off the pile.

I’ve got suggestions for your gardener stocking stuffers.

Jane’s Gloves – You can never go wrong with a pair of gloves, and especially if it’s a really nice pair. Gloves are often considered a consumable. Never buy a pair of gloves under the expectation they’ll last forever, cause they won’t, especially for someone who uses them all the time. Having acknowledged this, I’ve found the best gloves that work for me, and I’ll tell you why. These gloves are super thin, so if you enjoy being intimate with the sensations of the soil, plants and precise work of weeding small things, but don’t want to actually touch them (or get earwigs crawling on your hands), these are the gloves. They also have a coating on the palm that gives you great grip. Some grippy coating on some gloves lose their grippiness (almost getting a little slick). These ones will stay sticky till they break down. They also fit very well for ladies who wear a smaller sized glove. When I put these on, there is no clown hand phenomenon, and there is no air gap between my finger tip and the glove tip. I can’t find a link right now, but the gloves have been spotted fairly reliably at Halifax Seed and Blomidon Nurseries.

Mini Fiskars Snips – Stop. You think you’ve found the best deadheading scissors, pruners, nippers… if you came to this point, you’ve got ‘em. These are a great pair of snips. I’ve got at least 2 pairs rattling around any given garden tote. I use them at work and at home. The tips are small and very narrow, ideal for tight space trimming. Legal marijuana growers come in to Dayjob asking for these by name. As a gardener though, these are just in the middle for snip strength. They will deadhead roses, annuals, they’ll cut just about anything that isn’t woody (thinner than a pencil though, they’d probably cut it). The handle has a nice non-slip grip. The snips have a spring so they work just like a pair of pruners, and have a little lock to hold them closed, as well as a cap to protect the tips, because they are sharp! They seem to have a good life span and I haven’t needed to sharpen mine. However, they don’t disassemble to sharpen, which could be a con for some. I am a felco owner, so I enjoy taking my pruners apart to clean and sharpen the blade. With that being my only real drawback, I always recommend you put this in their stocking. They will use them!

Bottle cap waterers – I picked up a set of these from Lee Valley many years ago. It’s an inexpensive thing to throw at the top of the stocking. They’re really useful if you tend to have a million plants on a million different floors of the house, but don’t want a million watering cans everywhere. There are 4 different tips, and I’ve used them all for various purposes. I keep a 2L pop bottle of water with the finest rose with my seedlings. It’s gentle, as long as you don’t squeeze with a Yeti grip.

Battery Operated Mini Lights – Just a fun gift idea for those who have small to medium robust plants like fig trees, oversized jade plants, or cram a set into a wine bottle. They’re light enough to not weigh down a plant, and bright enough to give a little festive (or pretentious) touch to your living decor. Every year my fig gets subjected to the light up costume, and doesn’t put up too much fuss, as he gets to go out every summer. Don’t forget the batteries! You can find these at just about any christmas decoration department, you can get them onine as well.

Seeds! If you can find seeds right now, you can always pick up a few packages to put in the stocking. I would recommend any packets of herb and annual seeds, scarlet runner beans, microgreens etc. I would discourage the purchase of anything that could be labeled as “spreading” like forget me nots or snow in summer, and never buy orchid seeds from an untrustworthy seller, because chances are they are not, and seed propagation is impossible for most unless you are prepared to start up a laboratory.

Gift cards to their favorite local garden center – It doesn’t really excite people immediately, but don’t worry, gardeners are obviously not a stranger to waiting. If you are able to get your hands on a catalog for that garden center (if they have one) that’s an additional thing they can cherish and read with their gift in mind while waiting for spring.

Working Hands – This is a good gift for anyone actually. It’s a heavy duty hand cream that keeps your skin soft and protected. If you wash your hands a lot, or work outside in wet/dry/cold environments, your fingers are gonna split. It’s a less painful alternative to liquid bandage (and works a lot better!)

Rite in the Rain tactical Notebook – Some people like to take notes. Some people are forgetful. Sometimes, they leave their notebook outside for weeks, forgetting, only to discover it is a paper pulp mess, having lost their wayward thoughts while gardening. This is a nice thing they can keep in their pocket in case they need to jot an idea while out in the field. Or you know, leave it on a stump somewhere.

Other garden sundries – Blank plant tags, sharpie pens, colored pencils if they like to draw garden plans, sticky note page markers for when your gardener finds an inspiring page in a book.

And if someone in my family is reading this, I already have the above items listed (which is why I recommended them) but I am always looking for more Jane’s Gloves or seeds.

 

So that summarizes the ideas I’ve got for now for gardener stocking stuffers.

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