NOVEL GIFT IDEAS FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM
By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
Are you tired of giving the bride and groom the same old pewter candlesticks, bath towels, or picture frames? Then consider giving them something that can grow with their marriage. Here are some suggestions from the American Nursery and Landscape Association and me for novel gardening gifts for the newlyweds:
A small potted tree they can care for indoors is the perfect choice to brighten up a new apartment, condominium, or home. Some good choices include a Calmondin orange (if plenty of light) or an umbrella tree. For small spaces, choose an exotic plant like an orchid or grafted fig (requires higher level of light than most plants), and have it potted in an unusual container or one that matches the color scheme of their home. If choosing an orchid, make sure it is a variety that will rebloom indoors. Many don't.
If the couple has a patio or backyard, they might enjoy something that they could set outdoors and show off as they entertain in their new home. For plants, there are many exotic and tender choices that can overwinter in cool non-freezing place such as a pot of angel's trumpet (datura). Or how about a lawn game such as croquet, or patio accessories such as nice place mats and serving ware for the patio table? You also could give a gift certificate for a water garden (or accessories for one) or for night lighting.
A garden bench, sundial, or other garden ornaments and statuary will add a personal touch to any outdoor space. Consider the bride and groom's preferences for motif and color when choosing items for the patio or garden. Do they like southwestern art and vibrant colors, for example, or are the subtle pastels of a Victorian-era garden more their style?
Many couples would welcome help with landscaping their new home. Either offer to supply plants and your help in designing and planting the perennial beds, or give a gift certificate for the services of a local landscape professional.
On a smaller-scale, think wind chimes or a set of painted terra cotta pots. With the latter, include a gift certificate to a local garden center or nursery so the couple can fill the pots with plants that they like.
Dried flower wreaths and arrangements are another possibility. Working in the bride's wedding colors or some of the same varieties of flowers as her bouquet or centerpieces will make the gift an extra special remembrance of the day.
If the newly wedded couple are backyard birdwatchers, a ceramic birdbath makes an ideal gift. For colder area, a heated one that lasts outdoors year round may be the perfect choice. Or how about birdfeeders and birdhouses or a birding guide and a pair of field glasses?
For avid gardeners, rakes, shovels, garden hoses, and even a wheel barrel all make useful gifts. Just try to check to see what they already have before you buy to avoid duplication. Or again, a gift certificate to be used to purchase tools--or plants--may be the best bet. You might want to ask if the couple has registered at a local garden supply store. (Today, it's not just department stores and gift shops that offer bridal registries. Many other types of stores, including garden supply stores and nurseries, also have a bridal registry.).
For a more informal gift, fill a wicker basket with gardening hand tools, ceramic garden markers, packets of colorful flowers and bulbs--or a gift certificate, depending on the season. Add a large bow for color.
You also could include a set of colorful party invitations with matching paper plates, paper cups, and a paper tablecloth. This way, after the couple has put all of the gardening gifts to good use, they'll be ready to give a casual garden party for their friends.
And if you really are set on giving the bride and groom a picture frame, then consider one with a garden motif or painted wildflowers on the frame. Or instead of a just a frame, why not a framed print or original watercolor of a flowers or a garden scene/
Still stumped for a gift? Garden centers offer a wealth of gift ideas for weddings and other special occasions. Not only will you have fun putting together the perfect gift, but you might open up a whole new world for the lucky recipients!