10 Unique Ideas for Garden Gifts

Gardens are a joy, indeed. The fresh air, beautiful flowers and rich foliage provide for a relaxing ambience right in one’s backyard, not to mention that you can get many ideas for unique garden gifts from watching the area alone. Here are a few of these ideas.

Outdoor Weather Instruments

Nowadays, garden instruments do not just serve utilitarian purposes as these can also serve add delightful decorative elements to an equally delightful place. You can choose from many types of garden instruments including a thermometer tile, a digital rain gauge and a weather vane.

Garden Statues

There’s something about garden statues that add the finishing touches to gardens and other outdoor spaces. You can choose to give statues of Greek gods, angels and fairytale creatures, among others. Just be sure that the statues given go well with the theme of the recipient’s garden.

Garden Tools

What better way to express your loving care for a gardener than a complete set of garden tools? The set should contain tools like trowel, mini-rake and shears, to name a few. You can even choose from many types of garden tools set for specific gardening activities like planting flowers, herbs and trees.

Lighting Fixtures

The strategic placement of lights in the garden adds the right ambience while also adding another layer of security to the garden. Lighting fixtures are then great gift ideas for the avid gardener, said fixtures of which can include lanterns, votives and stakes.

Garden Signs

Your choices in garden signs include humorous and inspirational quotations as well as small garden identification stakes. You may even choose to have the garden sign personalized with the name of your recipient and his favorite sayings about gardening.

Plants and Seeds

Well, of course, don’t forget to give your recipients gift baskets filled with various plants and seeds. This is the best gift you can possibly give simply because it’s the foundation of a great garden.

Bird Feeders

Birds are great natural additions to any garden. With your gift of bird feeders, your gardener-recipient will have the opportunity to attract more birds into his garden and, thus, enjoy the bounties of Mother Nature more.


Yes, there’s nothing like the opportunity to just bask in the beauty of one’s garden while lying on a hammock, possibly reading a book. Your recipient will love how a hammock expresses your wish for a relaxed life for him.

Fire Pits

When it comes to double purpose in garden gifts, fire pits are on top of the list. Fire pits provide warmth on a cool night while also adding to the relaxed ambience, not to mention that you can cook food in a few of these outdoor appliances.

Bug Control

It cannot be helped that gardens will have its share of bugs and pests. With your gift of bug control items like glass wasp traps, sandalwood mosquito sticks and triple chamber bat house, your recipients’ gardens will be a better place to relax in.

Your choice in these gifts will depend on the personal preferences of your recipients. In the end, it’s almost always the thought and the purpose that counts.

Sexting Laws and the Digital Age

The majority of sexting laws are merely interpretations of laws that already exist, namely child pornography (where underage sexting takes place), sexual harassment (when the attention is unwanted and/or comes from someone in a position of power, such as an employer), sexual exploitation (where the case involves a direct manipulation of power, as with a child or a therapist), or anti-bullying legislation (where the sexual texts and photos are used to harm an individual). Some places in the United States or its protectorates have developed legislation specific to sexting, but the majority have not; sexting’s greatest legal presence remains as a part of the application of other laws.

When underage sexting first became an issue, minors who were found with sexually explicit photos or videos of other minors were charged with possession of child pornography, while those who sent these media were charged with distribution of child pornography. While this often seems severe, in the early days of establishing sexting laws, many such cases were intended to make examples of offenders and discourage this practice. In other cases, specifically those circumstances whereby students mass-distributed photos of other students, sexting crossed over into the domain of anti-bullying laws, many of which were still being developed during the rapid rise in the popularity of sexting.

State Sexting Laws

Some states, such as South Carolina and Ohio, have created laws that specifically regulate sexting. South Carolina law applies to those between the age of 12 and 18 and defines sexting as a crime worthy of a misdemeanor; those convicted of sexting will be fined (no more than one hundred dollars) and forced to attend an educational program, detailing the dangers and potential legal ramifications of further sexting. Sexting, under this law, is not considered a sexual offense, despite its sexual nature (Vermont has likewise changed the law to exempt sexting from the category of sexual offenses). Ohio simply bans minors from sexting at all. Several other states, such as California, New Jersey, and New York have implemented legislation that relates specifically to educating teens about the dangers of sexting. This can range from the creation of special school programs that discuss sexting and its use in bullying to forced educational classes for offenders and prohibition on the sale of mobile devices unless information about sexting and its dangers is presented at the time of purchase.

While many state governments have focused on education and reducing sentences for sexters so that minors who commit these offenses are not branded sex offenders and forced to register with a database, many other states have simply rewritten local law so that sexting can carry a harsher penalty. States such as Georgia and Pennsylvania have amended their laws so that mobile devices are now addressed as one of the means by which unlawful and inappropriate content can be distributed; this proviso was unnecessary prior to the digital age.

When both sexters are over the age of 18, their sexting practice is most likely not illegal, unless it involves some special circumstances. In such cases, there are no laws that specifically dictate when and how sexting can be used, but the messages themselves can fall under the purview of other, already existent legislation and can be used to demonstrate that a related crime has occurred.

Sexual Exploitation Charges

Several cases have been reported whereby employers or others in a position of power, such as a district attorney, doctor, or therapist, repeatedly sexted to those beneath them or in their care. The sexting may be a solo act or part of a larger abuse; they may imply that accepting these sexts or reciprocating with the abuser is a constituent of the job or treatment, or that the victim’s employment, healthcare, or therapeutic relationship is at risk if he or she does not comply. This kind of behaviour opens the door for sexual exploitation charges.

Sexual exploitation, according to the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR), is “the abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes” or “forced/coerced sex trade in exchange for material resources, services, and assistance”. In these instances, sexting records may be requested in court or when pressing charges, as evidence of a violation.

Sexual Harassment Case

Likewise, sexting can become an important component of evidence in a sexual harassment case. Sexual harassment is defined by the UNCHR as “any unwelcome, usually repeated and unreciprocated sexual advance, unsolicited sexual attention, sexual innuendo… when it interferes with work, is made a condition of employment, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” Sexting between coworkers or employers/employees can easily be regarded as sexual harassment, unless both parties are consenting.

While not all sexting laws apply to the exchange of messages between minors, the vast majority do. All laws that refer to sexting exist to protect those who are considered vulnerable in the eyes of the law, so that this activity, which is innocent and fun in the right hands, does not become a tool to harm others.

Scanning Your External Business Environment

The 2010 IBM Chief Executive Officer Study is generating a lot of chatter in social media channels (hundreds of blog mentions). The comprehensive study covering 33 industries and 60 countries asked CEOs how they are capitalizing on complexity in a more uncertain business climate.Setting strategic direction in a changing external business environmentThe high interest in the study is evidence that leaders are looking harder for strategic solutions for managing in a more volatile business world. Business leaders are more concerned than ever about the external business environment, yet they feel less confident about how to navigate through it. Rigorous external business environment scanning is key to increased competence, and confidence, in finding robust strategic solutions. A typical PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological) analysis, however, seems inadequate in increasingly volatile environments.We used to scan our environment by asking questions based on informed shifts in market dynamics and changes in PEST factors. Today, we have to consider that the goal post may be moved to another field. Realistically, few CEOS are presuming to have as much understanding and control over the external environment as they had before the 2007 market downturn.Bolder questions for a more complex external environmentThe good news is that analytical tools are evolving to put leaders back in control of their strategic approach to the external business environment. Traditional approaches are likely to come up short. In light of the dramatic restructuring of industries and economies, new questions need to be asked when analyzing the external environment from a short- and longer-term horizon. In the former business climate, a firm’s core competence was expected to endure for a lifetime like a destiny assigned by the mythological Fate Lachesis. Today, the ‘what if’ scenarios must be bolder.
· Will my core competence be commoditized? How soon?
· What’s my next core competence?
· What regions will dominate in my core competence?
· What companies/regions will erode my competitive advantages?
· Will this become an outsourced industry? And by whom?
· What will be the most innovative product/company tomorrow?
· What technologies, not yet conceived of, will out innovate me?
· What is the worst-case scenario in terms of capital market receptivity to my industry? What will be my alternatives?New business scanning modelsIn responding to the needs of leaders, it is important to distinguish whether their main concern is the ability to understand the rapidly changing business environment, or the capacity to undertake the appropriate actions to respond to it. Most leaders will argue the former. The evidence shows that leaders are confident that they have the skills and resources to respond to drastic change (this introduces another challenge: over-optimism – watch for an upcoming article on this) and what they really require is a more robustway of scanning their business environment, and keeping up with the changes.The usefulness of external business environment scanning in strategic planning should not be discounted as outdated. It is likely only your model that is outdated. Studies continue to show that a good external business environment scan has significant positive effect on the strategic course of a firm, and ultimately performance; environment scanning models today must include plausible varying scenarios to be adequate for the current complexity.