||Gifts for the Gardener
Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 30 November 2001 (formatting changed for the Web)
Give plants! But not just anything. I keep a whole shelf of nursery catalogs; anyone could figure out the places I like because their catalogs are worn and have notes in the margins. Gift certificates to those places would always be great. Or to a local nursery that's big enough you can always find something you want, and where you can see what you're getting. Winter-blooming houseplants help a gardener make it through till spring: Amaryllis, Paperwhite Narcissus, and Christmas Cactuses are the easiest.
Another winter essential is garden books. Don't give how-to books unless you know what the gardener needs; otherwise you run the risk of getting something too basic. Good bets are picture books of gorgeous gardens, and books in which gardeners tell stories about their experiences. Also a whole book on a favorite plant; for example I have one on Hostas, one on Campanulas, one on mosses, and one on hardy roses.
There are always more tools to try. My all-time favorite so far is the soil scoop, which puts much less strain on the wrist than a trowel does. And equipment tops in this category is my shredder-chipper: fallen branches and leaves quickly become useful garden mulch with this monster. (Get a powerful one.)
A garden shed to store everything in is a necessity for a gardener. It can't be too big; the contents will expand to fill the space available. In my case, everything has overflowed into the basement, the laundry room, and the front porch. One of the things I keep on the front porch is a pretty basket full of hand tools: trowel, hand cultivator-claw, clippers, a dandelion weeder.... I have another set of the same tools in the back yard, in the garden shed. But I got tired of having to go get the tool I needed from the other side of the yard all the time. Duplicates are a great timesaver.
A good-looking wooden compost frame is a thoughtful gift one of those things people tend not to buy for themselves, because it's an unnecessary expense one only someone who really cares would give. Compost? A gift involving that messy stuff? Ah, but it's so great to get that sloppy pile, which is so essential, corralled so that it's a bit more attractive.
- Some of my dogeared catalogs are
- Big nurseries close enough to me to visitPLANTS big nurseries nearby:
Books Timber Press
Tools and Equipment
© Copyright 2001 Catherine Holmes Clark