Plants are the greatest gift of all because, hopefully, they keep on giving long after the memory of all the other Christmas tat is gone. If you give them to an artist, they may even be immortalised. Here are ten suggestions of plants worth considering. Send them through the post or hand over in person, either way it’s a winner.
1. The subject of a famous painting
Manet’s Lilacs in a Vase (c 1882) is a special piece. Make someone else feel just as special with the plant itself. Alternatively, find out their favourite artist or piece of plant art and get them the plant that’s in it. What could be more thoughtful?
2. Barrel Cactus
Echinocactus grusonii in the UK is retrogradely named Mother-in-Law’s Cushion, we prefer its other name – Barrel cactus. If you know of anyone lucky enough to have visited the Californian desert or Mexico, they will be familiar with these beautifully rounded plants and your gift will act as a wonderful reminder of that time. A truly lovely, architectural plant and one day it may even grow as big as the one below and flower, and they’ll love you even more then.
Image by André Karwath, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5
3. A cutting from your Rubber Plant
Grow together with the ones you love. The inspiration for this gift comes from this charming story of one woman and her Ficus elastica below. Not that easy to find in the UK, so leave yourself enough time.
4. Bluebell bulbs
Our native British Bluebell is the one you want. If the receiver has a tree or wild grassy patch, there’s nothing better come Spring than watching these blue things pop up.
5. Blossoming tree
Every year the beautiful flowers come you will be remembered, albeit only for a few weeks. Transient beauty at its absolute best, Van Gogh et al thought so too. Cherry, Pear, Apple, Almond – take your pick.
6. The weirdest plant possible
Gifting such a specimen is a way of saying to someone, you are special, unique and creative and I appreciate that about you. Well that’s the hope anyway. The crazier the look the better.
Not your average plant – African Milk Tree a.k.a Euphorbia trigona var. rubra
7. The tallest plant possible
If you can’t find anything particularly weird and you want a garden plant the next best thing is the tallest plant. This will also ensure your gift doesn’t blend into the background. This Italian Cypress – Tree, Cupressus sempervirens is nice and thin, so can slot it anywhere, and there is no way in a few years you won’t be the permanent star of the show.
8. Birch Tree
Possibly one of the most painted and photographed trees of all time, including by Gustav Klimt, who did it a few times. It’s a lovely, lovely tree and a wonderful gift and you don’t need a woodland to have one, but a soil test in the middle of the night (so as not to spoil the surprise) may ensure planting success.
It is Christmas after all. It’s green and red, shiny, Evergreen – a classic.
10. Christmas Rose
Why? It’s got Christmas in the title and even more appropriate if the person you give it too is called Rose. White seems rather special at this time of year. It’s official name is Helleborus niger, with the latter part making you think the flower should not be white, but the niger actually references the black roots.
The truth is any plant makes a great gift,. here is a list of places to buy and send online.