This was written more than 25 years ago but is still the most requested column as an encore:
T’was the week before Christmas, and all through the yard, not a gift was given, not even a card.
The tools were all hung, in the carport with care, with hopes that St. Nicholas soon would repair,
The shovel with blade all rusty and cracked, the pitchfork still shiny,
but handle it lacked.
When out on my lawn, (it’s brown and abused) I could see poor old Santa, looking confused.
No list had been left for Santa to see, no gardening gifts were under the tree.
But wait there's still time, it’s not Christmas yet, and gardening gifts are the quickest to get.
You can forget the silk tie, the fluffy new sweater, give something to make the garden grow better.
If she wants a gift shiny, then don't be a fool, it's not a dumb diamond, but a sparkling new tool.
If fragrance is listed you can forget French perfume, it's a pile of manure that’ll make gardeners swoon.
Give night crawlers, not nightgowns, the type of hose that gives water. (Anything for the kitchen is not worth the bother.)
Give a great gift that digs in the dirt, it's better than any designer-brand shirt.
Now look quick at Santa, this guy's not so dumb, Under his glove, he hides a green thumb.
His knees are so dirty, his back how it aches, his boots stomp on slugs, (he gives them no breaks).
The guy only works winter, you can surely see why, The rest of the year it's a gardening high.
Elves plant in the spring, pull weeds merrily all summer, in fall they all harvest, but winter's a bummer.
And so Christmas gives Santa a part-time employment, ’Til spring when blooms are his real life enjoyment.
So ask the big guy for garden gifts this year, seeds, plants and tools, Santa holds them all dear.
You see malls may be crowded, vendors hawking their ware, but visit a nursery, stress-free shopping is there.
Now Santa’s flown off, to the nursery he goes, and his voice fills the night with loud Hoe! Hoe! Hoe! Hoes!
— Merry Christmas from Marianne Binetti
Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her at binettigarden.com.