Monday, December 13, 2010

More Gift Ideas

The Holidays are rapidly approaching, and in some cases are already upon us. The kids will be getting out of school (grade school and college), family and friends will be coming to visit, or you may be planning to travel over the holidays. Either way the chaos will begin shortly.

Over the weekend, I visited one of my cousins, Geary, in Charlotte, NC. Geary is a very avid gardener whose yard has graced the pages of many National and Regional publications over the years. Her yard has also been on tour with some very exclusive yards in the Southeast. Geary works very hard in that yard with little to no outside help and it shows. I can’t remember the exact number, but I think it is around 60 different varieties of Japanese Maples alone. Talk about fall color...

We were walking around her garden, and I mentioned I was filling in a shady area of my yard with more shade loving plants. About the time I got the words out of my mouth, she began to take cuttings off of this Aucuba that looked like no Aucuba I had ever seen. The plant was much lighter green and had some serious variegation in the leaves. This lighter colored plant should show up nice in the deep shade.

When we were packing up to leave, Geary handed me two books. She had noticed that I was thumbing through her book Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr and she had an old edition of it that she wasn’t using anymore. I have always wanted this book, but never came off the dollars to purchase it. This is the Holy Grail of plant books! If you are a golfer, it would be like getting a free round of golf at Augusta National with Tiger Woods.

The other book Geary gave me was Herbaceous Perennial Plants by Allan Armitage. As I pick this book up right now to take a better look at it, I realize the book has a note from the author to Geary. This book is the sister book to Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.

Cuttings from your plants can make wonderful gifts. Many of us in the Lowcountry have Sago palms with little pups growing off of them. You can pot these pups up for gifts throughout the year. Many houseplants are very easy to propagate and would add life to any house. Daylilies, fig trees, Fatsia plants …. All could make great gifts.

Books, old or new, can also make any gardener happy. Whether it is a coffee table book or a reference book, books make great gifts and are how we often learn new information.