It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the gift season this year. That said, it’s time for my gift suggestions for your horticultural family or friends, or maybe just for yourself. My late November gift column traditionally includes ideas for far-reaching gifts, while my early December column includes ideas for local and last-minute gardening gifts . So let’s get started.
As always, I have to have a few books on my list. This year I chose a book for beginners called Gardening Basics for Dummies, 2nd Edition. This book was written by professional gardener Steven A. Frowine and approved by the National Gardening Association. It’s straightforward but also nicely written so it’s easy to read and understand. Coming from the For Dummies series, you know this will become a staple of your how-to library. It has chapters on soil, tools, choosing the right plants, gardening with kids, and more. List price is $ 25.
Another book I’d like to put on my personal Christmas list is about – what else? – succulents. In fact, there are two in this category. The first is Misa Matsuyama’s The Gardeners’ Guide to Succulents; A Handbook of Over 125 Exquisite Varieties of Succulents and Cacti ”from 2020. This is one of those hardback books that is not only informative but also beautiful to look at. Runs approximately $ 17. Another good book on succulents is Essential Succulents; A Beginner’s Guide ”by Ken Shelf. Although published in 2018, this book is Amazon’s # 1 best seller in ornamental horticulture. The author owns a garden and lifestyle store in San Francisco and has been teaching succulents for over a decade. Since he also creates special centerpieces and arrangements, he brings his creativity to this book. If succulents are your gardener’s new hobby as well as mine, this is a great book to get you started with the information they need to know. List price is $ 19.
Of course, not everyone is as addicted to succulents as I am. But honestly, for any obscure type of gardening, there are tons of books out there to show you how to do it. For example, I am determined to learn more about mushrooms in 2022 and have found several ways to help myself. Timber Press has a field guide titled “Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest” by Steve Trudell and Joe Ammirati that was published in 2009. Lots of good photos and descriptions make it easy to identify the 460 species of mushrooms found in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. List price for this is $ 28. A more recent release from last month is Darcy Field’s Foraging Guide for Pacific Northwest Mushrooms. This is a guide to PNW mushrooms – edible, inedible, and even poisonous – that will help you spot and identify over 40 species of mushrooms. Darcy also talks about edibility, the time of year and the places to look for them. I’m still not sure if I’ll be comfortable picking my own mushrooms, but I want to learn more about them. The paperback version is $ 22 but is also available on Amazon Kindle so you can access it from your phone while hiking.
Another older book (published in 2008) is Rodale Presss “Perennial Combinations; Breathtaking combinations that will make your garden look amazing right from the start ”by C. Colston Burrell. This paperback offers page after page beautiful herbaceous gardens combined with a numbered photo key and a list of plants. Even if it was published 13 years ago, the ideas and possible combinations make this book a timeless gardening book. Amazon has a paperback for just over $ 24.
And for the vegetable gardeners out there, I recommend Timber Press’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Lorene Edwards Forkner. This is written in a format that displays month to month so you can easily keep track of what you should be doing and when. And you don’t have to start in January … you can start in any month. This book will help you choose the plants you want and explain how to get the best harvest from them. This book was published in 2013 and costs $ 13.
One final book on your list is Flora; Inside the Secret World of Plants ”published by the Smithsonian. This could easily be a coffee table book because it’s so pretty. But it also contains a lot of great information about the wonderful word of the plants. The hardcover sells online for just $ 27.
This should give you a good introduction to book shopping for your gardeners’ Christmas lists. However, this is not the year to postpone as we are already being warned of bottlenecks and long delivery times.
I wish all of my readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Despite a global pandemic, we really have a lot to thank.