Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe...Holiday Shopping for Gardeners

Gardening is supposed to be America’s most popular hobby. So, chances are, you know a gardening enthusiast well enough to be thinking about a holiday gift for them.

Here are some ideas in case you are still wondering what to get them.

OK, I guess I have to say it because I work for Penn State but you really can’t go wrong with a Penn State soil test kit. The “kit” is not a “do it yourself “ deal but a service provide by Penn State. Cost is reasonable (nine bucks) and it is guaranteed to be useful. Unique, too. Soil test results tell gardeners about the nutrient needs of their gardens. If you want to splurge, go ahead and get that optional organic matter test for a few bucks more. Check out the details at Penn State's Ag Analytical Services or contact your local extension office . Soil test kits make good stocking stuffers.

Books …. Here are a few that are sure to please.

Every gardener deals with weeds. My favorite weed book is Weeds of the Northeast. 300 pages of color pictures and descriptions of the most common weeds found in the northeast U.S…all for about 30 bucks.

Woody plant lovers generally consider Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Dirr to be the most useful and comprehensive book on woody plants in the U.S. I use it weekly. The fifth edition is 1100 pages…. a winner. Dirr has companion picture books that bring the text to life. Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs is one of them.

Another great tree book is Trees for American Gardens by Donald Wyman. A oldie but a goodie is A Natural History of North American Trees by Donald Culross Peattie… part poetry, part botany. Nothing else like it.

If you have a hard core botanist in the family… consider The Plants of Pennsylvania by Rhoads and Block. About 3000 Pennsylvania plants are described.

You aren’t likely to find any of these texts in the local book store or even the big box-book stores but you will find them online.

It is a bit tricky to get the right tools for gardeners but I don’t know any gardener who wouldn’t like a pair of Felco hand pruners. They are the “gold standard” in pruning equipment and Felco has an amazing array of options… did you know lefties need custom pruners and that small hands need smaller tools? Check it out.

Other stuff… how about a membership in the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Morris Arboretum or passes to Longwood Gardens? Garden centers offer gift certificates.

Has someone been naughty this year? Arrange for a load of mulch to be dropped in the driveway Christmas morning.


Anonymous said...

Ooooo Mulch! What a blessing in disguise!

Marnie Conley said...

Thanks for the mention of Longwood Gardens as a wonderful holiday gift. Last year we formalized a member program so in addition to passes you can now become a year-round Garden Pass Member complete with benefits and exclusive opportunities. Thanks, again, and have a happy horticultural holiday!