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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – November 5

We hortaholics (thank you, Dan Heims) forget that not everyone appreciates getting plants as gifts. While we may rejoice when a guest arrives with an amaryllis bulb, others approach such situations with dread. We out-of-control plant people are thinking, “Big flowers!” but others mutter, “So I have to try and keep this alive??? The pressure.”

To quote Paul Simon, “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

As I post a Holiday Plant Hell article on my website that is designed to inform and encourage plant recipients, I also realize that the gift givers should be advised as well. Although we hortaholics want to convert everyone into a Plant Person, we need to be sensitive and thoughtful. A gentle touch is in order here.

So for those gardeners who will soon be gift givers, I offer these guidelines:

  1. If you know your host or hostess, and can’t remember a single plant that he/she has in the house, do them a favor and take a bottle of wine instead.
  2. If you know that the recipient loves flowers, but don’t know if he/she has the time or ability to water plants, go for the cut variety.
  3. When you take that Amaryllis or Poinsettia as a gift, be sure to tell the receiver that it’s OK to throw the plant out after the holidays. “No pressure, OK?” should immediately follow, “Happy holidays!”

Gifts are always a crapshoot. We try our best to anticipate the recipient’s taste and desires, but truthfully, we often fall short of the mark. Do your friends a favor this year: Make sure the card says, “It’s OK if you kill this.”

I may love these plants and keep them from year to year, but not everyone feels the same way...

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