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Gardener gifts: Books, magazines and trips

SALISBURY — Last week, we mentioned several practical gift suggestions for the gardener. This week, we will discuss some educational/informative gardening gift ideas such as magazines, books and trips for the gardener who likes to learn.
There are several gardening magazine gift subscriptions which would make any gardener happy. My personal favorites are Carolina Gardener, Garden Gate, Horticulture and the American Gardener. Carolina Gardener is unique because it focuses exclusively on plants which grow in our zone 7a-7b-8 area. Besides the wonderful articles and pictures, Carolina Gardener also has a calendar of North and South Carolina gardening events. The $24.95 subscription pays for itself, as you get a free annual card which lets you get 10 percent off your purchases from participating garden centers. Garden Gate and Horticulture are more general gardening magazines. The American Gardener magazine comes as part of your annual membership to the American Horticulture Society ($50). Membership allows you free admission to many national gardens and flower shows, so it is well worth the price.
There is a bevy of gardening books which would make wonderful holiday gifts. Any book by P Allen Smith would be appreciated. P. Allen has a relaxed writing style. His books usually include beautiful photographs and great design ideas. Any book by Rosemary Verey, England’s most renowned plantswoman, is well worth reading. “Best Borders” by Tony Lord has great design ideas. “No-Mow Yard” by Evelyn J. Hadden, discusses alternatives to the fertilizer-demanding lawn. For the more serious gardener, one might try “Making More Plants “ by Ken Druse, or “The Winter Garden” by H. Peter Loewer and Larry Mellichamp. The latter helped me to appreciate the importance of good landscape design when the leaves are gone.
Another informative gardening gift idea would be tickets to see any of our public or private gardens. For example, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont has gorgeous gardens, fountains and a conservatory. Perhaps you can wrap up a note, promising to take your recipient to one of the free N.C. gardens such as the Sara P. Duke Garden in Durham, the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh or the Botanical Gardens of Asheville.
Finally, there is one more great free educational gardening gift idea. How about picking up a free soil test kit from the Rowan County Agricultural Extension Office on Old Concord Road? This kit provides the instructions and box needed to send a sample to Raleigh. The information gleaned from a soil test report is invaluable to any gardener. Better yet, send in the soil test yourself and gift wrap the report for your gardening friend.
These are but a few of the many educational gardening ideas for holiday gift-giving. In my next article, we will discuss some garden decorating/design gift ideas which could please creatively/aesthetically-inclined gardeners.

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