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There are many books on gardening, houseplant care, roses, and cactus. Chances are, if it grows, someone has written a book all about it. If you can order the book directly from the author, ask him or her to sign it for you. Make sure you tell them the recipient's name, with a welcome to the neighborhood, to their new home or whatever the occasion may be. Many authors are delighted to autograph their books and include a personal message.
Planters come in many styles, shapes, and colors. If your friend has a balcony, you can choose a planter that attaches to the railing. You could go a step further and include a bag of potting soil and some flowers. The plants can be growing, or you can pick out a package of seeds. You don't have to stick with flowers either. You can get them a tomato plant growing in a big container. Peppers also do well in containers. If they like to cook, consider giving them herbs. There are so many choices, but by a little careful thinking, you'll come up with the perfect plant.
Give them garden tools. There is no such thing as having too many shovels, spades, trowels, or watering cans. They come in handy especially if someone else is using their other one. It also makes the job go faster with more than one person digging. You can personalize the handle to make it extra special, by painting pictures of flowers on the handles, or personalize them with their name instead.
There are many kinds of outdoor solar lights. They provide illumination without using electricity and they light up pathways to the house or garden without being obtrusive. If your friend has a back yard and likes climbing plants, perhaps give them a trellis or arches. You could even include a vining plant to grow on them if you want. Consider giving them a bird station. A birdbath and/or a bird feeder are always welcome gifts. If you're handy, why not make them yourself. It doesn't take too much wood or knowledge to build a bird feeder or birdhouse. Usually seven pieces of wood will give you a basic birdhouse. Then you can paint and design the birdhouse in any way that you want. If you lack ideas, check out garden catalogs, stores, or any place online that sells them. Birds are always a welcome visitor to any yard because they are fun to watch and they eat insects.
There are many ideas for people who love to garden or spend time in their back yards. It isn't the expense of the gift, it's the thought. A gift from the heart is worth more than a field of diamonds.