5. Deny winter: A gift certificate from Gardenimport delivers the promise of a new plant for your garden with an artistic edge. Hand lettered in beautiful calligraphy and available in any amount over $25, this certificate also comes with a colour catalogue that is valid for two years, which means you have a lot of time to think about your final choice. Place your order at www.gardenimport. com.
6. Shady character: Choose a handmade floral lampshade to add a green factor to your indoor garden this winter. White will seem ever so boring. Check them out at www.anthropologie.comor visit them when you're next in Toronto. Choose from six designs ranging from $98 to $128, plus shipping.
7. Plan ahead: These Mad Mat outdoor carpets are weatherproof and designed to dress up your patio spaces come spring. Offered in various colours and patterns, they are fade and mould resistant, easy to clean and durable. Comfortable for bare feet and available in many sizes, these carpets are made from recycled plastics by mechanized looms in a worker-friendly Thai factory. Phew. For information on where you can buy them, contact their Canadian distributor at 1-800-859-5081; call your local retailer for prices.
8. Under cover: Invest in a greenhouse or cold frame to extend the growing season with these Canadian products. Contact Ottawabased Lexis Greenhouses (www. lexisgreenhouses.com) to see their selection of winter-friendly designs (all manufactured in Western Canada), starting from $2,000, plus shipping. If space and finances are tight, try a cold frame for under $200 from Lexis or a plastic row cover kit from Lee Valley at $31.50.
9. Donations: Give your money to a local, sustainable and organic food organization. Consider a donation or membership to a local food growing or distribution group. In Ottawa, here are some suggestions: Ottawa Good Food Box, (www.ottawagoodfoodbox.ca), Just Food (www.justfood.ca), Canadian Organic Growers (www.cog.ca), or go to www.canadahelps.orgto choose a charitable organization and make a donation online.
10. The ultimate splurge: Why not roll up Christmas, birthday and anniversary present all into one and reserve your place on an international garden tour. Join Linda Thorne on a tour of Scotland in 2011 where garden visiting will be combined with golfing. Contact her at thorneandco for information. Or if that's not exotic enough, try visiting Thailand's gardens in February with Donna Dawson; $3,675 p/p sharing. Contact her at www. gardeningtours.com.