Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
December, 2006
Regional Report

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Barbara Bricks' hand truck -- a past Christmas present -- is a backsaver for transporting heavy gardening items.

Gifting the Gardener

Are you asking yourself questions like this: Which gardening book would Aunt Suz like for Christmas? Wouldn't that chartreuse-handled trowel be great for dad, who's always losing tools in the yard? Will these great gauntlet pruning gloves fit Harriet? Well, they look and feel sooo good, what about the purple pair for me? Choosing holiday gifts can be fun AND daunting. Two Pennsylvania gardeners weigh in with their favorite presents.

Barbara Bricks, president of the Hardy Plant Society/Mid-Atlantic Group, detects a water theme flowing through her list of favs in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A vintage (probably from the '20s) lawn sprinkler is "one of my prized possessions," she shares. This gift to herself (thanks to birthday money) won't be seen in any Home Depot or Lowe's. It has a "wonderfully graceful form" reminiscent of childhood play, when she and her siblings jumped over, in, and out of spraying water. "Talk about sentimental! The minute I saw it, I knew that sprinkler had to come home with me," Barbara adds. She enjoys the sprinkler's rhythm. She and the butterflies appreciate the way water arches up and out. "In late summer into early September, they were all around that little device."

On request, one son bought Barbara a hand truck "to give me some independence and save my back." Though the men in her life use it too, she appreciates being able to move heavy pots and garden items without waiting until someone else can help. "It's about the most practical and oft-used wheeled vehicle after my car and wheelbarrow," she says.

In the smaller yet memorable category, Barbara fancies a large pottery dish (about 20 inches across) that a potter friend gave as a shallow birdbath. It reigns in the kitchen as a food platter. Birds drink from a different gift: a small granite rock (a.k.a. "small-bird watering trough") with an irregular hole.

In Leesport, Pennsylvania, Gloria Day, owner of Pretty Dirty Ladies, Inc., has a mix of work tools and whimsy in her gift basket. Some 20 years ago, a nurseryman and mentor gave her a set of left-handed Felco pruners she still uses routinely. There's also a two-decade-old, nameless trowel of strong, forged steel with a sturdy wooden handle shaped slightly to fit the hand. "Made long before ergonomic tools were 'in'", Gloria adds. After she's bent the big-box varieties on everyday chores, she uses the forged trowel for planting tulip bulbs, transplanting, and scooping potting soil.

Three Kinsman Company gifts rate indoor display in Gloria's new home. On her office desk is a glazed terra cotta miniature of Wellington boots just right for a handful of 'Tete-a-tete' daffodils or pencils. Filled with gardening magazines, a wooden garden trough banded in blue sits next to Gloria's reading chair. "Its style works as well in my contemporary home as it did in my 200-year-old farmhouse," she says. Three imported winter ornaments with satin finish and sparkles hang in her bedroom window "like snowflakes in fairyland. Delightful. I keep them there all winter."

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