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With less than a week until Christmas, it is now or never if you want to place a package under the tree.

Shopping for a gardener? I have some ideas.

Even for the casual gardener, measuring the rain is important. Using a rain gauge will take the guesswork out of when to water the garden. I have seen all types, but my favorite has large, easy-to-read numbers and brass hardware.

I imagine as the brass ages, it will develop a lovely patina and become even more interesting. Rain gauges can be placed directly into a garden bed, hung on a fence post or outbuilding wall. Just remember not to place it under an overhang. Combine the rain gauge with a rain hat or printed umbrella to make a clever gift.

I bet as a child you loved being pulled around in a wagon; well, wagons are not just for kids. A wheelbarrow can be heavy and awkward when hauling mulch or soil, but a wagon distributes the weight on four wheels. It comes in handy after a day of plant shopping and moving them from the back of your car to the different spots around your lawn. I inherited a bright red wagon that connects me to the past and makes me smile.

An apron with pockets or a utility bag with pockets is a great gift. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have searched the ground for the small pruning shears, twine, or trowel I “just had” next to me. A handy pouch with outside pockets where I could gather and easily move my tools along with me would save so much time and the bonus of no more tools left in the rain because I forgot they were in the garden somewhere.

I am a big fan of giving garden gloves, hats, and shoes, but why not a scarf? Often when working outside, I wear a heavy sweater instead of a jacket. To keep warm, I will wrap a favorite scarf around my neck. It is less bulky and I can always bury my nose in the fabric to get warm.

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Still need a few other ideas? How about planter feet for a large container plant? Planter feet are often terra cotta and can be basic or whimsical, but they are small feet or ledges to raise potted plants off the ground. They can help air circulate under the pot, keep the planter from sitting in moisture or protect decking from unsightly container rings. All good reasons, but I think they are fun and maybe a gift for the gardener who has everything.

Don’t forget about local artists who have framed prints, notecards, pottery, wrought iron, and glass sculptures creations that any gardener would be happy to have in their collection. I enjoy shopping local with gifts from The WV Market at Capital Market, Art Emporium on Quarrier Street, Blenko Glass, and garden centers. When in doubt a gift certificate to use in the spring is a good idea.

When you buy local — and let’s face it, a week before Christmas, you need to buy local to guarantee you not only find a unique gift, but that you have it in time for the big day — remember that you are supporting the artists who make our community a special place to live. A gift to us all!

On my way home, I pass a beautiful ginkgo tree. It is stunning in the fall when the leaves change to a golden color. Every year I send a picture of the golden leaves to a friend who has moved away. Then there it was, at a local craft fair, a blacksmith had made ginkgo leaf ornaments—the perfect gift thanks to Wallace Metal Works. For both big and small forged metal art and custom creations consider Wallace Metal Works or Life’s Forge.

Start the year off right with the gift of a new garden journal and beautiful pen, or maybe a subscription to a garden magazine. A jigsaw puzzle is a fun way to pass the rainy days.

A few more stocking stuffers could include sunscreen, hand lotion, and lip balm. Balls of twine and plant markers are always handy. I have not met a gardener yet who doesn’t love a bite of chocolate after a day outside.

I could go on and on about gifts to buy and clever ways to wrap, but before I close, I really want to remind you that it is not about the gift. Something as simple as a visit and cup of hot chocolate is the best gift. Merry Christmas to you and yours from the pup and me as we snuggle close around the Christmas tree at the little house on a big hill.

Jane Powell is a longtime West Virginia University Extension Service master gardener through the Kanawha County chapter. She is the communications director for a community foundation and a volunteer with several nonprofits in the community. Find her blog, “Gardening in Pearls,” at gardeninginpearls.com. You can contact her at janeellenpowell@aol.com.

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