The holiday season is right around the corner. Some folks wrapped up their shopping on Black Friday but plenty haven’t finished the task – and some haven’t even started.
No worries. We’ve rounded up some great gift ideas. Best yet, these gifts have a uniquely Delaware focus. Some choices – like landscape design classes – are tailor-made for outdoorsy types. Others gifts – like Delaware wool blankets — work equally well for couch potatoes who just gaze at the landscape from their windows.
From spices to vines
A few years ago, New Castle County Master Gardeners began offering winter workshops in addition to their regular fall and spring classes. “The response was overwhelming,” says Carrie Murphy, the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension horticultural agent for New Castle County. “January and February aren’t good for gardening but they’re perfect for learning new ways to garden and planning for the season ahead.”
Winter workshop topics include vines and espaliers, downsizing your garden, and the origin of cooking spices. For the complete list, go to this website.
To purchase a gift certificate for a Master Garden workshop, call 302-831-COOP.
Keep warm with Delaware wool
UD’s flock of Dorset ewes get sheared every spring before going out to summer pasture. Previously, their wool was sold at a regional auction to wool processors. Then farm superintendent Scott Hopkins and animal science professor Lesa Griffiths put their heads together and, soon after, Blue Hen Blankets and Yarn was born. Now, after the sheep are sheared, the wool is sent to a Canadian mill to create cozy blankets in two styles — a lap throw and a queen-size version.
The blankets have plenty of heft — each lap throw requires four pounds of wool and the queen-sized contain 12 pounds. The lap size is $100 and queen-size $175. Buy them at the UDairy Creamery on UD’s South Campus. For creamery location and hours, see the website.
A gift that lasts all year
Surfing at Indian River Inlet and swimming at Fenwick Island. Hiking at Alapocas Run and biking at White Clay Creek. Pond fishing at Killens Pond and surf fishing at Cape Henlopen. Give them an annual pass to Delaware’s state parks, where they can enjoy their favorite outdoor activity — or try something new.
Annual passes range in price from $12 for a senior citizen to $54 for an of-state resident. For more info, or to buy a pass online, go to the state parks website.
UD profs and other experts at Longwood
Don’t let “Tips for Turf Diagnosis: Insect and Disease Management” scare you. Sure, Longwood Gardens’ continuing education program has serious classes for pros. But there’s also “beginning bonsai” and “orchids for beginners.” Your gift recipient doesn’t even have to be a gardener — birding, photography, art and flower arranging classes also are offered.
UD prof Sue Barton teaches the fundamentals of sustainable landscape design in a five-session class; UD adjunct instructor Jon Cox presents the secrets to photographing water in an all-day session. For the full schedule of classes go to the Longwood website and click on “education.”
Longwood gift cards can be purchased on Longwood’s website or at the Kennett Square, Pa., gardens.
Give ’em Delaware River Mud
Mud pie ice cream, that is.
Delaware River Mud Pie is the most popular flavor at the UDairy Creamery, according to manager Melinda Litvinas. This ice cream pairs vanilla and chocolate cookie with swirls of fudge.
Plus, the creamery offers seasonal selections, including peppermint bark, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint hot chocolate. Gift certificates are available in $5 denominations, perfect for stocking stuffers.
You may want to pick up All Nighter for yourself. This concoction of coffee ice cream and cookie dough chunks, crushed cookies and fudge swirl won a recent flavor creation contest. It was concocted by UD senior Kate Maloney. According to her contest entry, “Every college student has to pull an all-nighter at some point… [this ice cream] gives you the sugar rush you need to survive a 24-hour cram session.”
All Nighter could be just thing for assembling toys late on Christmas Eve, too.
The UDairy Creamery is located behind Townsend Hall on the Newark campus. The creamery closes on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. (and re-opens Jan. 3). For more information, see the UDairy Creamery website.
Article by Margo McDonough
Photo by Danielle Quigley