Gift baskets have become increasingly popular catch-all presents for birthdays, anniversaries and other gift-giving holidays such as Christmas. The best thing about gift baskets is you can tailor the exact ingredients to the recipient, and the gardener on your gift list certainly is no exception.
Tropical Gift Basket
For the greenhouse gardener who likes tropicals, select a large, flat-bottom basket or tray. Ask at the local nursery for a specimen orchid or bromeliad. Place in the center of the basket or tray, and surround with smaller, more common tropicals in two-inch pots. Toss in some orchid food, a mister and a book on tropical gardening such as Orchids and Bromeliads, by Sara Rittershausen (Merehurst, 2000), a beautifully illustrated 96-page book that features some of the species' most stellar specimens.
Desert Garden Gift Basket
Again, find a large, flat-bottomed basket or use a tray. Visit the local garden center and stock up on one large centerpiece cactus and a half dozen or so smaller cacti and succulents in two-inch pots. Toss in a gift certificate subscription to Arizona Highways magazine, a tub of cactus food, a bag of colorful lava rocks, a piece of driftwood, and a book such as The Complete Book of Cacti & Succulents, by Terry Hewitt (DK Adult, 1997), an authoritative guidebook with photos and descriptions on more than 300 plants.
Vegetable Garden Gift Basket
Round up a mixture of carrot, turnip and radish seed packets and small tomato, squash and cucumber plants and arrange in a basket. Add some support poles, ties, and ceramic vegetable identifier signs--or, if you have an artistic flair, design your own with tongue depressors and permanent markers. Include a small packet of vegetable fertilizer and a book on growing vegetables, such as The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (10th Anniversary Edition), by Edward C. Smith (Story Publishing, 2009).
Container Garden Gift Basket
Get a large decorative tray and buy a handful of containers or two window boxes. Arrange on the tray along with a bag of potting soil, a bag of starter fertilizer, a miniature garden tools set, a small colorful watering can and packets of seeds for plants ideally suited for containers, such as marigolds, verbena or an assortment of wild flowers. Include a small stake that you can either buy or make yourself with the gardener's name on it, such as "Kristina's Garden."
Children's Garden Gift Basket
Buy an assortment of different size clay pots. Arrange in a gift basket with one small flower for each pot, a set of poster paints and several paint brushes, a bag of potting mix, a tub of plant food and a small watering can. Include a coloring book geared toward child gardeners such as American Wild Flowers Coloring Book, by Paul Kennedy (Dover Pictorial Archives).