Gifts for the Gardeners

Finding the perfect gift is a daunting task — even more so when you start down the rabbit hole of shopping for someone with a particular hobby. The internet offers an unending inventory of novelty knick-knacks: a candle that smells like an heirloom tomato. a mug that says “Plant Lady.” a green t-shirt with a cheeky pun! While those gimmicks might garner an immediate chuckle, a thoughtfully selected gift brings joy, inspiration, or entertainment all throughout the year. We’ve curated a list of guaranteed gift wins for your green-thumbed friends and family, sourced from local PA gardens centers and destinations.

Pro tip: When it comes to wrapping, take a cue from a “favorite” holiday tune and think brown paper packages tied up with string — adorned with a sprig of seasonal greens.

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Ceramic Pots

A tasteful ceramic planter adds interest to any patio or front porch — and year-round opportunities for your favorite gardener to create seasonal displays. When the frost hits, it can easily be moved inside, meaning that your thoughtfulness will be on full display throughout the year.

Hanover Concrete is a Pennsylvania small business that applies their building supply bonafides to beautiful concrete planters, bird baths, fountains, and benches. Whether sprawling or cozy, manicured or wild, they have decor for every garden.

Perfect Pots is a Lancaster County-based company that delivers creatively designed plant arrangements in charming, reusable vessels. A traditional bouquet lasts for only a few days, but these gorgeous symphonies of color can endure for months or even years.

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Garden Memberships

For the plant-lover who has every tool, accessory, and knick-knack, how about an infinite dose of inspiration? A membership to a public garden or local greening organization is the gift that keeps on giving — from ideas that they can bring home to hours of relaxation in a garden that they don’t have to maintain.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is a marvelous institution dedicated to promoting green spaces, food access, and community. Membership has myriad benefits, including discount tickets to the annual Flower Show, invites to members-only events, free gardening advice, and a subscription to Grow, their quarterly magazine.

Located in bucolic Centre County, Rhoneymeade is a combination arboretum and sculpture garden. It’s a glorious place to stroll, boasting walking paths through farmland, forest, gardens, and meadows. The site offers multiple tiers of membership, with patrons receiving a private tour led by the executive director.

Chanticleer Garden, located just outside of Philadelphia, sells season passes that will grant the giftee unlimited access to verdant inspiration. The romantic, dynamic gardens are managed by seven horticulturists who each put their own stamp on the plantings, from the Asian Woods featuring species native to China, Korea, and Japan, to the Gravel Garden, inspired by Mediterranean landscapes.

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is dedicated to the preservation of native plants in Pennsylvania. If someone in your life is passionate about wild flora, sign them up for a membership, which includes access to the site, discounted native plants, and entry to members-only events.

For the giftee who REALLY has everything — consider donating to a local organization in their name. There are plenty of Pennsylvania groups working to support the environment, improve access to healthy foods, or green our communities. A few examples include the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), Grow Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia Orchard Project, and The Seed Farm in the Lehigh Valley.

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Giving the gift of seeds is an act of hope. Seeds are inherently giftable — a packet slides neatly inside an envelope — and provide the potential for an entire plant that will delight or even feed the recipient. Pennsylvania has an overwhelmingly robust crop of small-scale seed sellers. Here are a few favorites.

Happy Cat Organics specializes in heirloom tomatoes — they have almost 100 varieties of every color, shape, and size on their website — but they also sell quirky strains of cucumbers, beans, radishes and more. A hand-selected “bouquet” of seed packets could yield some magazine-ready caprese salads next summer.

Lancaster-based Rohrer Seeds not only has plants for the garden, but they also sell lawn, pasture, and wildlife-friendly seeds. An easy way to level up your traditional holiday card – slip a packet of their Northeastern Wildflower Mix into the envelope.

Ernst Seeds focuses on native and wild plants. Their seeds, propagated on more than 9,000 acres in northwestern Pennsylvania, are geared specifically towards landscape restoration and conservation, and populating pollinator gardens. They offer excellent options for friends and family looking to foster a more sustainable homestead.

Founded in the 1980s, the Landis Valley Museum Heirloom Seed Project propagates seeds from vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals with historical significance to Pennsylvania Germans. Many of their offerings came via donation from families hoping to preserve their own agricultural legacy. Shop their quirky collection of more than 80 varieties, including unique offerings such as Hinkelhatz “Chicken Heart” hot peppers and “Mortgage Lifter” tomatoes.

Based in Bucks County, Burpee has been a big name in seeds and plants since 1876. Fun fact: They originated ‘Iceberg’ lettuce way back in 1894. The company sells a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, and perennials and curated collections of seeds.

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Gardening Gear

No matter how packed their potting shed or garden box, every hobbyist thrills at a new piece of gear. Here are a few must-haves that should make spring planting a bit more comfortable and exciting for the plant-lover in your life.

Pair a few packets of seeds with a spade or shovel from Green Heron Tools. This local company designs and manufactures gardening aids — hoes, shears, gloves — specifically for women, taking into account the particulars of a female gardener’s physiology. The company was founded by Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger who spent careers in public service before leaping into entrepreneurship with this venture.

Comfortable, hardy, slip-on footwear is a must for any passionate home gardener. Dankso is a Pennsylvania-based standout in the world of clogs. These shoes are built to last — but with dozens of options in every color and material imaginable, buying multiple pairs is more than justifiable. You can even personalize your clogs.

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In the dark of winter, a little bit of green can go a long way. A tabletop terrarium freshens up any home or office and gives your plant-lover an opportunity to tinker in the “garden” way beyond first frost.

Robertson’s Flowers in Northwest Philadelphia sells beautiful little jewel-box terrariums planted with ferns and other green plants (we also love their artfully arranged succulent gardens). Picture it in front of a frosty winter window — a verdant little world in miniature.

Tillandsia& in Leola, Lancaster County, offers themed terrarium kits, from “Tropical” to “Unicorn” to “Darkness Falls” making these a customizable gift for both grown-up and kid-sized green thumbs.. These sets would also make a great party favor or group activity alongside cozy cocktails.

Pretty Green Terrariums has two storefronts in Philadelphia and sells all sorts of fun gardening-related stuff such as diorama kits, ceramic pots, journals, baskets, and dried flowers. Their terrariums are next-level, with sizes up to 14 gallons.

No matter what you give the gardener or garden lover in your life, it is sure to grow your connection. And most of these thoughtful selections will have a long-lasting presence in their lives, whether it’s a plant to care for, a quality piece of gear that will be used hundreds of times, or a membership that will provide endless hours of inspiration and tranquility. Happy gifting.

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