The winter is a great time to curl up with a good book and dream about the growing season to come. It's also a time to think up fresh garden designs, pick up some new tools, and perhaps even find some funky "flair" for the garden.
Here are a few great books that have gotten me through many dreary winter days:
- The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch
Reading this book is like having tea with a good friend who just happens to be a gardening guru. Damrosch writes in a friendly, casual manner giving great advice based on her years of experience. She goes into depth about growing annuals, perennials, vegetables, fruits, herbs, wildflowers, roses, shrubs and trees. She also touches on some design elements and has sample layouts for each type of garden she discusses. An invaluable resource.
- The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
Recommended to me by a highly admired New Jersey gardener, this is a must-have book for anyone with a perennial bed. In this book, Ms. DiSabato-Austin gives gardeners the nuts and bolts of how to take care of their perennials, offering practical knowledge from her observations as a gardener.
- You Bet Your Tomatoes: Fun Facts, Tall Tales, and a Handful of Useful Gardening Tips by Mike McGrath
For anyone who wants to grow the perfect tomato, this book is essential. If you can wade through all the corny jokes, this book is an amazing resource with tons of great inside information on how to grow superb tomatoes. Author Mike McGrath is host of the popular radio show You Bet Your Garden.
- Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy
This is a great gift for the gardener who is interested in benefitting the environment through their gardening. This book will give you a new appreciation for native species and perhaps inspire a native flower bed in your yard.
- Perennial Combinations by C. Colston Burrell
This is the book to pull out when it's bone-chillingly cold and you can't imagine that spring will ever make it's return. The full color pictures are eye candy for the gardener as well as inspiration for the upcoming season.
If you're looking for a gift for a more eclectic gardener, I love Fred Conlon's handmade sculptures created from recycled hardware. The Venus Fly Trap Garden Stake in my garden always gets people's attention, and I'm hoping to add the Flamingo-Away Sculpture next season.
To bring some of the garden inside for the winter try a sleek-looking, self-watering windowsill planter. Use it in your kitchen and snip fresh herbs for cooking, or brighten up another room with flowers or houseplants.
For the gardener who thrives on organization, try the GardenScribe Plant Organizer. The D-ring binder makes it easy to keep all your gardening information at your fingertips. Each page is a form that includes the name and needs of each plant as well as a clear vinyl pocket for photos or tags.
Every gardener needs quality tools to make gardening more enjoyable, as well as to avoid injury. If you're a fan of OXO products in your kitchen, you'll be just as happy with them in the garden. Their hedge shears are great for big pruning jobs and their rotating nonslip handles help to avoid injuries after tackling an especially unruly hedge.
Hopefully this list will help to guide you in your holiday shopping... or inspire your own wish list!