UpHome Main Article Index More Book, Gift and Gadget Articles
Mrs. GreenThumb's Article Archive
Great Gifts for Homeowners
by Daryl Pulis

As the holiday season rolls around, there are many columns written about gifts for gardeners. You know the ones- a potted amaryllis and gardening gloves are usually on the list.

Today's column is a little different. We'll focus on what you need if you're new to gardening in the South.

We've talked in previous weeks about how difficult our soils are. There is a "secret weapon" for dealing with it. No, it's not dynamite! Most of us are familiar with common shovels that are broad bladed and have a bit of a point. These are ok if you're strong and the soil is workable, but a bear to do anything with if you have typical hard-packed clay. Some years ago, I discovered the ditch or drain spade and it opened up a whole new garden life. Instead of being dependent on ideal soil conditions or my husband, I could do it myself. The spade has a long (16 inch) blade but is narrow, only about 5 inches wide. With it, you can take small bites out of the clay so that less force is needed. My husband likes it because he can easily maneuver it between rocks and of course it leaves a few items off the honey-do list. The drain spade is commonly available at local hardware stores.

The next thing a new Forsyth County gardener needs is a good book. There are several that I recommend to everyone new to the area. For an absolute beginner or first time homeowner, I'd suggest "Georgia Gardener's Guide, by Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener. This book details our most common landscape plants. It is unique in that all of the information from size of the plant to its fertilizing and care are detailed under each plant's heading, so that the weekend gardener doesn't have to sift through long chapters. This means that there is some repetition, but it is convenient to be able to look up Holly or Bradford Pear and have the information right at hand.

For those that have gone beyond the brand-new stage, I strongly recommend "Gardening 'Round Atlanta". This book, written by the late Avis Aronovitz and Brencie Werner with a group of Master Gardeners and professionals from the Atlanta area, is packed with 450 pages of the best plants for our area, subdivided into plant types and uses. Headings such as the '10 Best Spring-flowering Bulbs' or 'Best Ferns', or 'Shade Gardens', or 'Native Plants' make it easy to find the right plant for your garden. There are also chapters on plant maintenance, walkways, and appendices with great lists of public gardens, books to read, local plant societies, and sources for the plants mentioned in the book.

For those with gardening experience but new to the South, " The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists", by Lois Trigg Chaplin is a handy reference guide to plants that will survive our climate. The cover says "more than 200 lists that end costly plant-choice mistakes." Lists such as 'Trees for Wet Sites', 'Trees with Inconvenient Litter', 'Annuals for Fragrance', and 'Shrubs that do Well in Deep Shade' make it easy to pick the right plant for that problem spot in your yard. The book doesn't give any care information, but is handy to have in hand as you shop for plants.

For either the new or the more experienced gardener, "The Southern Living Garden Book" is an easy to use encyclopedia of plants for the south. Because it covers many more states than Georgia, it has some information not pertinent to Forsyth County, but it also has valuable chapters on common weeds, diseases and insects, plus pictorials on how to plant, how to start seeds, and how to lay sod.

In my next column, I'll give you some ideas of books and gifts for the avid gardener on your list. I'll also share the list of the Forsyth County Master Gardener's favorite gardening books.

www.amazon.com UpHome Main Article Index More Book, Gift and Gadget Articles

Copyright© 1992-2002 Daryl Pulis. All rights reserved. No portions of this Web site or its contents may be copied without the express written consent of the owner.
Website design & development by SpotOn Marketing.