“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat….” So goes an old English Christmas Carol and it is true that Christmas is coming and will be rapidly upon us. It will probably not surprise you that I ask for gardening books, tools, or gift certificates to garden centers. Gardening items will always be used and I do not have to worry about the size or color!
As far as gardening books go – one of my favorite is Tough -As -Nails Flowers for the South by Norman Winter. Winter is the retired head of the Coastal Georgia Botanic Garden and writes gardening columns for local newspapers as well has a Facebook page titled “Garden Guy.” I like this book because he give the regional origin of each plant and I feel that is important to know. He also talks about care and maintenance as well as the different cultivars available. The book covers annuals, perennials, bulbs, ornamental grasses, and vines.
As far as tools, I feel that it is better to have a few really high quality tools rather than a bunch from the Dollar Store. Well made tools will last a lifetime and pruners and loppers can be re-sharpened. My very favorite tool is my Felco pruners (called secateurs in other parts of the world). They are made in Switzerland and although pricey, they are well worth it. Felco makes many sizes from small “nippers” to large pruners. I have three and I am very careful with them. Fortunately, the handles are always bright red which helps to find them in the garden if you lay them down.
Another favorite tool is my Joyce Chen scissors. Joyce Chen was a Boston area restaurateur. She developed these scissors to cut up Lobster for Lobster Cantonese.
Little did she suspect that gardeners would love these scissors for trimming and cutting flowers. I use them all of the time for deadheading and flower arranging. They are expensive for scissors, but I have never had mine sharpened and they have lasted for almost 20 years and are still going strong.
Every gardener needs gloves and should use them every time they garden. I buy gloves by the dozen and any of the Nitrile gloves are great. They have good flexibility and can be put in the washing machine and even dried. There are many online sources for these gloves and the price goes down the more you buy. Buy a dozen and share them with a gardening friend.
I usually ask for a gift certificate from an online nursery since I tend to order more exotic things not found locally. They all have online gift cards and my particular favorites are Bluestone Perennials, Digging Dog Nursery, Annie’s Annuals and Perennials, Whiteflower Farm, and High Country Gardens.
Make it a gardening Christmas with gifts that you can use to play in the dirt all year long. And don’t forget to save those Amaryllis to plant outside in your garden! Paperwhites as well. They are a gift that keeps on giving.