Gardening can harm the environment. The use of water, fertilizer and power equipment all pose hazards. Eco-gardening reduces the damage and improves on what nature provides. Whether you know an eco-friendly gardener or want to encourage the gardeners you know to become more environmentally aware, you can choose from a variety of gift options.
As water shortages and outdated storm runoff systems become increasingly problematic, collecting water provides an eco option. A rain barrel hooks up to the downspout and collects the runoff from the roof for use in the garden. You can find them in many styles, including urn shaped and decorated barrels. For the gardener who already has a rain barrel, purchase a rain chain to add flair. Water flows down the metal chain--as it would a downspout--and through flower-shaped cups.
A gas-powered lawn mower creates pollution similar to the amount of a car driven for 350 miles in one hour of mowing, according to the Washington State University Extension. A reel mower makes an eco-friendly alternative to gas mowers. Run on human power, they require no fuel, oil or electricity. Reel mowers come in a variety of sizes and price ranges suitable for a gift the eco-gardener will appreciate. Using the cut grass for mulch and compost provides additional benefits for gardening.
All gardens can benefit from compost. It adds nutrients to the soil while improving drainage and aeration. Compost benefits the environment by reducing landfill waste and the use of fertilizer. Compost bins come in many sizes and styles to match the garden decor. If you have tools, wood, paint and some woodworking know-how, you can build a custom bin for the gardener on your gift list.
Give your gardening friends and family native plants for a long-lived gift. A flowering perennial takes the place of a bouquet that will just end up in the compost pile. Native plants require minimal maintenance, need less supplemental water and provide food for wildlife, according to North Carolina State University. Contact your extension service for ideas for plants that grow naturally in your area.