Friday, November 30, 2012

Cool and Interesting Garden-Related Gift Ideas

Every year the season comes around and we have to think of new and interesting gift ideas for friends and family.  I learned many years ago by giving my wife the same gift on consecutive years that not putting any thought into a gift can lead to dire consequences.  Following is a list of ideas for the person who loves the world of plants and likes to put a little time into the garden.

I receive nothing from these recommendations other than helping connect friends and clients with my world of gardens, plants and horticulture.

If there is something here YOU like, pass it on to your designated gift giver.

Publications - Some great books packed with knowledge.

The Avant Gardener - For years this was a paper-only newsletter published out of a couple's apartment in New York City.  Recently, Derek Fell has taken over  publication of the ultimate monthly newsletter covering the broad topic of gardening and plants.  A must read for those who want to be in the know!  $28 for one year and $48 for two years of a digital newsletter.

Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs by Michael Dirr - People in the business call this and his other publications the bibles of woody plants.  Filled with pictures and descriptions of most any tree or shrub you might consider in your garden.  His Manual of Woody Landscape Plants is the botanical final word on woody plants.  If you need to know the definitions of polypetalous, hippocrepiform and fimbriate then this 1,200 page book or CD set is for you.

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust - While this book might be relatively inexpensive, it may portend some significant financial investments in perennials by the recipient.  This book will provides great ideas to help you understand how to better care for your perennial gardens.  She also has an excellent book called The Well-Designed Mixed Garden that covers designing with woody and herbaceous plants.

Memberships and Societies - Two great local institutions.

Arnold Arboretum - Even if you just get here once a year, the $50 family membership gives you two great publications, invitations to events, free plants, discounts at local nurseries, and you are supporting one of the finest arboretums in the world that is part of Harvard University.

New England Wildflower Society - Again, even if you only go once out to Garden in the Woods in Framingham you get a great publication, discounts and other great benefits.  Access to Garden in the Woods is a great gift for any plant-lover.  It is stunning in the Spring.

Plants - A sampling of cool, specialty, mail-order nurseries.

You can go and order some plants or get some gift certificates.  A gift certificate of Roses or Peonies shows some incredible thought ;-)

Bluestone Perennials - This Ohio nursery has been around for a long time and they always have a great selection of interesting perennials.

Swan Island Dahlia
Plant Delights Nursery - This North Carolina Nursery always has some surprising and hard to find plants.  Probably one of the finest specialty growers and propagators in the country.

Swan Island Dahlias - Want some summer color but don't want to buy the same old Dahlias from the local garden center.  This is THE Dahlia place.  Outrageous grower out in Oregon!

Roses Unlimited - This South Carolina grower has just about any rose you might want and they are shipped in containers not bare-root.

Hidden Springs Flower Farm - This Minnesota nursery specializes in who doesn't love peonies.  Be the first in your neighborhood to have some of the newer yellow herbaceous Peonies.

Garden Tools - A couple of not-so-ordinary tool retailers.

Short-Handled Spade and Shovel
Hida Tool and Hardware Company - A Berkeley, California seller of Japanese tools.  A very cool small company with some amazing items, including my favorite garden tool, the Hori Hori.

Garrett Wade - A specialty tool and equipment retailer.  They have a little of that Hammacher Schlemmer thing going, but they have some very useful items for the garden and workshop.  If you spend a lot of your time on your knees working around plants, this short handled spade and shovel are pretty cool. The spade is great for dividing plants.

Lee Valley Tools - Another specialty tool supplier that has all sorts of items.  A gardener will have a blast shopping here with a nice gift certificate.

Garden Art - Two local creators of art for the garden.

Madeline Lord - I wrote a piece for this blog on Madeline a few months ago, Art Resurrected from Junk.  She is a wonderful artist and could do just about anything for you, especially with regard to immortalizing your children's art.

Whitmore Boogaerts - Whitmore is a friend down in Dartmouth, MA, who has been creating kinetic sculptures for years.  His work is whimsical and eye-catching.  I have been trying to get together with him to do a piece on his studio and work, hopefully this winter.

Give a gift that will truly be valued and give joy for years.

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