In the Garden:
Lower South
December, 2008
Regional Report

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A rose such as this 'Belinda's Dream' will provide years of beauty and enjoyment for a gardener on your holiday shopping list.

Give the Gift of Gardening

The season for gift giving is upon us and gardeners have a unique advantage. We know the joy of growing things and the way that plants and gardening can provide ongoing interest and satisfaction over time.

Gardening itself is a gift to give and there are many ways to provide someone else this wonderful experience. Here are a few ideas to consider as you plan your holiday gifts this year.

Give Gardening Wisdom
Every gardener has something to learn and those new to gardening will do well to receive a book on the basics. There are also videos, DVD's, magazines and other learning tools for sharpening the skills over the upcoming winter months in preparation for a great spring garden.

Look for materials that are written for your area as much garden writing, although accurate, is not applicable to all regions. Also, consider information on topics that are non-regional such as how to propagate plants.

Give a "scholarship" to a local class to sharpen gardening skills. Check with a local botanical garden and your County or Parish Extension Office for upcoming courses.

Quality Equipment and Accessories
A good quality tool will last for years and make gardening work easier and more enjoyable. I appreciate well made pruning shears, a quality spade, or a specialty hoe. Seed-starting kits or heating mats make great gifts and help expand the gardening season. Accessories such as a kneeling pad or a sitting bench are nice too. Even a non-gardener would appreciate a nice bird feeder or bird house. When purchasing tools and accessories remember that quality may cost more up front but is the best deal in the long run!

Gifts With a History
I'd like to offer another perspective on gifts for some of the special people in your life: that is, the gift of a living reminder of your friendship. When visiting private gardens across the country, I am struck by the number of times the gardener has said something like: "That plant was given to me by an old friend" or "This rose came from a cutting we took from my grandmother's home, which is now long gone."

Plants can provide a link between people and across time. It may be a special species or variety you bought for someone. It also could be a gift started from a special plant in your garden. How about a seedling tree started from that special tree you and a sibling or friend played under as children? Or some bulbs from the old family homestead, or a rose propagated from a bush at a special grave site? Or an herb division from your own garden with a note about your friendship? You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless for giving someone a living reminder of your friendship or a connection to family history that will last long after all the other gifts of the holidays are gone.

You may have heard it said that, "Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them." There are few things more gratifying than giving someone a special plant that will be an ongoing source of enjoyment.

Gifts of Your Time
In addition to giving a plant, you can give the planting. Some folks may not know how to properly plant a shrub, bulb, perennial or tree. Others may be physically unable to get out and garden. With your gift plant include a coupon good for "Planting One Rose Bush and Visiting Over a Cup of Coffee." Then head on over some late-winter day to make establish the plant and visit. That time spent will be more important for many folks than any store-bought gift they received during the holidays.

Every year in late winter when those gift narcissus announce spring, or each spring when that rose blooms, your friendship will bring back fond memories. This holiday season, give a living memory that grows in the landscape, in the garden and in the hearts of your friends and family.


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