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North Hills Monthly

Gifts Gardeners Can Use Year-round

Nov 30, 2015 06:13PM ● By Denise Schreiber
“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”
— Charles Dudley Warner

Gift giving this time of year tends to make us all more than a little crazy. Watching the newspapers for the midnight sales and clipping coupons for an extra 10 percent off is something that many of us get caught up in, and when in doubt, many people resort to gift cards. So let me give you some ideas for the gardener in your life.

Garden books are always a great gift, whether the recipient is an active gardener or just likes to look at beautiful gardens. God’s Word for Gardeners Bible is an inspiring version for those who garden and read the Bible on a daily basis, and it connects different gardening techniques with Bible passages. Terrariums, Gardens under Glass by Maria Colletti is a fresh look at terrariums. While you can still create them in a brandy snifter, this book gives you new ideas. There are lots of photographs, including how-to photos to make designing your terrarium easy and fun. Garden-pedia by Maria Zampini and Pam Bennett simplifies all those big horticultural terms with easy-to-understand definitions. In fact, I learned a few new ones myself! This is an ideal book for new and experienced gardeners.

There are three new books just for Pennsylvania gardening on my list this year. Month by Month Gardening Pennsylvania is an oldie but a goodie that has been updated with new plants, photos and information. A collaboration of George Weigel and Liz Ball, this books holds hands with gardeners, guiding them through every month with attention paid to every detail, including annuals, perennials, bulbs, lawns, trees, and shrubs, along with insider tips. Weigel has a second book, Pennsylvania, Getting Started Garden Guide, that illustrates the best flowers, shrubs, trees, vines and groundcovers to grow in Pennsylvania. Each plant has the common name, botanical name, and when, where and how to plant it, along with growing tips and regional advice since we have many growing regions in Pennsylvania.

The most beautiful and inspirational book this year is The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by R. William Thomas. This book is filled with what dreams are made of. The book was written by the staff at Chanticleer with their own unique visions of the garden through the seasons, and a veritable feast of photographs fill the pages.

There are hundreds of hand tools for the garden, but if you have physical difficulties, there are tools to make your life easier. Corona Tools makes an eGrip weeder that is one piece with a cushioned grip and ergonomic design. The weeder is long and narrow with serrated edges to cut weed roots, plus the tip is forked to remove that last piece of dandelion. They also make extendable handle tools to make life easier if you have a bad back.

Fiskars makes one of my favorite tools, Fiskars Big Grip Garden Knife. When I brought it home, my husband took one look and asked, “Where’s Rambo?” This is a deadly soil knife. It’s great for digging into hard soil and weeding, and with the serrated edge, it can cut into those bags of potting soil or fertilizer, too! Fiskars also makes hand tools with Power Gear that actually ratchet the pruners and loppers, making it easier for those with limited strength or arthritis.

For those with a little more money and concern for the environment, WORX makes a 56V MaxLithium Cordless 19” Lawn Mower w/ IntelliCut. It mulches, bags or discharges clippings and delivers gas-like performance and extended run time with zero emissions. And it’s rechargeable, too!

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, consider a pair of good garden gloves like Atlas 370 Nitrile gloves that are under $10 and fit like a glove! No money at all? Why not give seeds from your garden in envelopes decorated by you with artwork or stickers.

This is the season for joy and goodwill. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Blessed Solstice and peace to all!