What Do You Want?


Fotolia_159991_xsIt used to be such a simple, innocent question.  What do you want for Christmas?  Tell me and it will save me the trouble of buying the wrong thing. Tell me and you’ll probably get it.

It’s a question we’ve heard from our spouses, parents, children, friends–what do you want?

And just like that, you could name it.  Some sparkly little thing that caught your eye.  As long as it was modest and perhaps scalable (you’d be just as happy with the paperback; you’ll take a dozen bulbs or a hundred), you’d probably get it.

But this year it’s so not OK to want stuff.  In response to the "What do you want?" question, I find myself giving answers like, "I want you to hold onto your money and stay out of foreclosure"—and I actually mean it.

However.  Just for the moment.  Let us hearken back to those simpler times when it was OK to want stuff.  Let’s pretend your loved one has decided that virtue has its place, but so does buying something pretty for the person who has agreed to wake up next to you every single day, no matter how old and weird you get. 

So what would it be?  And don’t say gift certificates. This isn’t a financial transaction; it’s a pretty little gift wrapped up with a big bow on top.

I’ll go first.

I want a wooden garden walkway.  I thought I’d have to buy it myself, but no, turns out you can just buy the stuff in a big roll and lay it down.  Brilliant.  Check out the photos at Mister Boardwalk. You’ve got your choice of woods or wood alternatives.

As long as we’re at it, I’ll take some solar path lights to light it up.

And an exotic amaryllis.  Or two.  Or three.  See how scalable this is?

Oh, and while you can’t put it in a box with a bow on top, and while it has nothing to do with gardens:  I would like to be taken somewhere warm and very, very south of the border for a week or month or so. Steady supply of mojitos a must.

OK, now it’s your turn.  What do you want?


  1. I actually made a collage of things I do want, whether I get them myself or make them or get them as gifts. I think it’s good to at least recognize what you do want.

    My big thing would be a new bike. I’m a bike commuter, and I really need one. But there are also some little kitchen and house things I wouldn’t mind having.

  2. As long as I’m dreaming, I’d love to get help building and designing an outbuilding that would be one part greenhouse and one part airy studio. One of the things that most sucks about disability is not only that your medical bills go up but that you can no longer save money by doing things DIY even if you know how to do it.

  3. I want the neighbors to repair (and repaint) or replace their falling-down-and-apart picket fence. That’s a fat chance thing.

    In the more realistic department, I’d like a zoom lens for my camera.

  4. Diamond earrings, but I’d settle for cubic zirconia and lie. Otherwise — a week of heavyduty garden help, to get control of the English ivy.

  5. This cute concrete garden statue of a baby bird I coveted all summer at a nursery near me. Oh yes, and some fresh manure for my compost.

  6. I want the biggest, baddest compost bin they make. A huge, round composter with twin barrels and a crank for turning it. The kind that make people say, “What the heck is that?”

  7. I wish there was a farmers’ market close by. I visited a friend in Ithaca, NY in June and was duly impressed their market–both the wide variety of beautiful produce and the general sociability. It is a great meeting place.

    There are farmers’ markets in NE Florida, but I’d have to travel an hour or more to find one. I could travel northeast to find the ones in Jacksonville, an hour east to find one in St. Augustine, an hour south to find one in Palatka, or an hour west to find several in Gainesville. I haven’t been to any of them, but I’m guessing the ones in Gainesville would be the best. Of course, the markets in this region are open year-round or in season from November through July.

    I was also wishing for rain because I still am having a hard time getting used to the dry fall season, but we received 1.24 inches yesterday afternoon and the rain barrels are full again. Other than that, every day is another day in paradise and all the kids and grandkids will be visiting over Christmas weekend.

  8. I like the idea of making a collage out of one’s fantasy wishlist. But I would really like is someone to make a frame for the 3 x 6 foot double pane of glass a friend gave me this weekend for a cold frame. And while this fantasy person is making the window frame, s/he could also build the whole cold frame.

  9. Bulb-forcing vases from Paul Hawken’s former garden shop. Raiding local thrift shops produced some usable glass stuff but nothing like the definitive deal at S&H.

  10. I would like hooks installed in my new garden shed, a big three-bin composter, a custom-built floor to ceiling cabinet for large kitchen items, someone to move and stack the cord of firewood that’s heaped in my driveway, one of the little Acer mini-notebook computers.

  11. I’d like a service that allows me to rent a living Christmas tree for the holidays and then picks it up and plants it in an appropriate location. Heck, maybe that could be a gift, right? “Buy a Christmas tree that is planted in the New Year ‘in memory of'” or something like. Of course there is the argument that Xmas tree farms do have some positive impacts, but somehow living trees in the right place win the argument every time for me.

    Sadly, a Noble Fir just wouldn’t be a good thing in my small residential garden over time.

  12. I just finished my mammoth composter, so now all I want for the holidays is time to build my earth oven. While we’re wishing, let’s throw in the time to improve my sourdough, too.

  13. This posting makes me want to go re-read that great little Henry Mitchell essay about good gifts for gardeners (manure, string, etc.).

  14. Benjamin! I would totally come to Nebraska! Must find a way to make that happen. Wonder if I can find a book tour-worthy stop and persuade the powers that be…

  15. I have never been good at answering this question. I am generally content with what I have and when I actually need something I go get it. Basically I flunked shopping. Hate it!

    That being the case, I’ll dream for Whirled Peas too.

    On a practical note, a good pair of warm fuzzy house slippers so I don’t have to walk on cold tile floors would be nice. My Hawaiian rubba slippas just don’t have the same warming effect, though they much better than feeling cold tile.

  16. Thankful for everything I have and sure wish I could have some impossible intangible things…(like my Mom not to have to be in a nursing home at age 71 with MS)…

    But, since you’re asking, I want wine-making supplies, so I can make apple wine.

  17. I want a fence for my backyard to keep the deer out. There are so many things I would like to grow and not have to worry about when they will be eaten to the ground or dug up! It would totally change my gardening.

  18. Oooh. I love gardenmentor’s idea for a Christmas tree rental service.

    In my holiday Vero Beach Magazine article I wrote about magnolias and using their leaves for Christmas decorations, etc. I also put out the idea that folks could use these glorious and gorgeous natives as live Christmas trees.

  19. Any veg seeds that haven’t been messed with by Monsanto or their partner companies…or are on their patent list to be messed with…or are in their vault waiting to be patented and messed with…or from a company that hasn’t been already eaten by them or are on their list of take-overs so they can mess with them…
    Really, I’m an easy person to buy for.

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