Father's Day gift ideas for the gardener
IF ONLY all dads were garden-lovers! There would be no shortage of Father's Day gift ideas to suit any budget. Because Father's Day falls at the start of spring, it is a great time for all sorts of productive and ornamental plants.
Some will be ready to harvest within a few months, like tomatoes, chillies, blueberries and strawberries.
Apart from being easy to grow and quick to reach maturity, these plants are also easy on the wallet.
Others, like avocados, citrus trees and other fruit trees, are a bit slower to bear fruit but will continue to do so for many years.
Lots of native plants are in bloom in early spring so you will have plenty of choices if that is the way you want to go.
Kangaroo paws, grevilleas, native daisies, tea trees, bottlebrushes and so many others are putting on a lovely show, and providing much-needed food and habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Watching how gardens develop a life of their own, and help sustain the wildlife, is one of life's great joys.
Fathers who spend at least part of their working life in an office will appreciate sharing their workplace with a plant.
If you're not sure whether he has developed a green thumb yet, go for one of the toughest ones like Zanzibar gem, or snake plant (sanseveria), also known rather insultingly as mother-in-law's tongue. These don't need much water at all, even once a month or so is probably good enough.
A little more needy, but not by much, are bromeliads, which will bear dramatic flowers for six months or more, and peace lilies. These will need weekly watering in most situations. Peace lilies will demonstrate if they are too dry by wilting, and will recover as soon as they are watered.
Whatever plant you choose, make sure you put it in a container that will look good, and keep water and potting mix from damaging the surface where the plant sits.
Of all the tools a gardener uses, secateurs are probably the most important. Quality secateurs make short work of all the inevitable pruning tasks, and will last a lifetime.
It is hard to think of a better gift for someone who enjoys growing plants.
Even if dad isn't a keen gardener yet, you may well find that the gift of a plant ignites an enduring interest, and that could be a lifelong gift.