Carla Albright

Carla Albright

As we arrive at the last week before Christmas, we also are at the point where items ordered in the mail are no longer going to arrive in time for gift giving unless we pay for expedited shipping which can sometimes approach the cost of the gifts themselves. So we must consider other ways of finding items for the gardeners on our list. Let’s get a little creative here.

Downtown Tillamook is blessed with two very nice florists within a block of each other. Sunflower Flats and Anderson Florist have so much more than flower arrays. There are lots of gift ideas in each of these local shops ranging from ornaments and succulent arrangements to cards and unique vases. And of course, they can do cut-flower arrangements as well as show you a wide selection of orchids, houseplants, and window gardens. I warn you, though, allow plenty of time for each store and be prepared to find something you can’t live without.

I also almost always find something garden-related in Madeline’s Vintage Market in downtown Tillamook too. But since the stock is always changing, don’t go expecting to find a specific gift unless you call ahead. Jenn and her staff are easy to deal with and very helpful, so take some time to browse their selections. I’ll bet here, once again, you will find lots of things for yourself as well as friends.

Same with Hidden Acres Greenhouse and Café on South Prairie Road. Garden tools, gloves and stepping stones are just a few of the lovely things you can shop for here. Or there is always the possibility of a gift certificate so your gardener can shop for their own plants in the spring. The gift certificate can also be used for one of their yummy lunches served in the café. Also specializing in plants is Sandy’s Nursery, although they now have an online store where you can shop for specialty plants like Mandavilla, gardenias, and other tropicals.

Many of your friends and family that have been gardening for a long time will already have all the tools they need. And they may not have space for more plants. So now we need to step outside the box.

I am going to suggest that you make a financial contribution in the name of your friends to one of the local organizations that do such great work in our Tillamook County communities. One that comes to mind first is Tides of Change. This is the group that started as the Women’s Crisis Center, moved to the Women’s Resource Center, and has now reinvented itself as Tides of Change in order to serve more people in our community, including families. They do so much for people in domestic abuse situations to help them find stability in their lives. Did you know they often station counselors in health care centers and clinics around the county so they can better serve their clientele without having them find their way into their office? I didn’t, but I was impressed that this is the case. Tides of Change can always use donations that go toward all of their many programs, including buying gifts for children in their shelters for Christmas. I know this is a gift I would feel as good about giving as I would about receiving.

And now I am stepping even further out of the box…all the way to Africa. The daughter of our dear friends from Pennsylvania is now a veterinarian in Loveland, Colorado. In 2017, she and her husband adopted two children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and, while they were there at the orphanage, they watched as the children and staff living there spent almost their whole day scavenging for the grubs that make up the major part of their diet. Turns out certain insect grubs are very high in protein. But all the children’s energy was being wasted hunting for the grubs. So, Dr. Amy Franklin came up with the idea of teaching the residents of the orphanages in Kinshasa in the Congo to raise their own insect grubs. Thus “Farms for Orphans” was born. Their goal is to provide a reliable source of nutrient-rich foods to vulnerable children, thereby reducing the prevalence of malnutrition. A worthy cause. And because I have known Amy since she was about 12 years old, I know her heart is in this project and can highly recommend this organization. They operate on a shoestring budget, with high percentages of their donations going toward the farming operation. You can donate directly by going to their website www.farmsfororphans.org where you will find lots more information. I know there are many, many worthy organizations out there who would love to have your help. This is one I can personally vouch for. Be sure to tell Amy I sent you!

No matter what kind of gift you find for the gardener in your life, I know they will be grateful. For it truly is the thought that counts. I wish you a most wonderful, safe and healthy holiday season!

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