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Avid gardeners are easy to shop for

By Carole Massey
Rowan Master Gardener
Pleasing a gardener this time of year is not very hard.
The weather is finally being kind to the ground: gentle rain has been falling, the wind hasn’t uprooted any new plantings and the temperature ranges haven’t been too drastic for too long. Santa can have his bag full of so many treasures, and Santa’s helpers can take note.
Speaking from personal preference, if I were to recommend a gift for a gardener, whether experienced or a novice, my first choice would be the “Southern Living Garden Book.” Easy to read and follow, plenty of color illustrations and answers to basic questions on almost any plant, including plant care.
For entertainment and inspirational value, another book, by landscape designer and writer Elizabeth Lawrence, written more than 60 years ago, is a must. “The Southern Garden,” special edition, was published in 1991 with commissioned watercolors to delight all who love gardens and good writing.
Another tried and true favorite of mine are WomansWork Gloves. Padded palms and reinforced fingers with a custom fit for smaller hands make these durable, washable, breathable fabric gloves a must have for a dedicated gardener.
Add to those a pair of Felco No. 2 pruners, a pair of Kneelons (slip on stretchable, flexible strap, waterproof Neoprene to cushion the knees), a bicycle wheel garden cart (durable, easy to pull with one hand, compact enough to store on its end) and a compost tumbler (small size to handle kitchen waste and grass clippings) and the wish list would be complete.
That’s not to say the stocking is full. There would always be room for a few incidentals.
– Amaryllis bulbs in a new dazzling color
– Gardeners Hand Therapy Cream by Crabtree & Evelyn
– Garden urns or large pots made of polypropylene or similar synthetic material
– Antique collectible McCoy pottery containers for specimen houseplants
– Hypertufa containers for succulent gardens
– Birdhouses for bluebirds and other feathered friends
– Birdfeeders with black oil sunflower and Niger seed
– Birdbaths, maybe with a heating element
– Cobrahead weeders, both long and short handles
– Sunhats with wide brims; breathable and sun resistant
– Magazine subscriptions: My favorites ó Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening, Carolina Gardener, Horticulture
– Label maker, programmable to interface with your computer for automatic garden notes
– Membership to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens ó the gift that keeps on giving every season of the year
– Container planting kit: Soil Moist, pre-mixed soilless container mix, ground pine bark mulch (P. Allen Smith’s “Container Gardens” book as a guide)
– Collapsible bins for garden debris, easy to drag around, to empty and convenient to store.
– Potting bench with storage underneath, shelves on the back and above
– Garden décor ó gnomes, butterflies, metal sculptures and wind chimes
– Water features, great and small. Running water soothes us all.
– Garden bench or chair. Suitable for periods of reflection and contemplation. Should be padded with holder for a beverage. What is a garden but to be enjoyed?
– Enrollment in the 2009 Rowan County Extension Volunteer Master Gardener Class. The gift that keeps on giving, both to yourself and your community.
‘Tis the season to be giving. What better way than to add to a lifestyle ó basic equipment or fluff and frill, all makes for a more enjoyable gardening experience.
It might be wintertime, colder times are coming, but spring is never too far away. Let Santa and his helpers give you reason to anticipate digging in the dirt in the very near future. Merry Christmas.
Carole Massey is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer with the Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County.

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