How-To Ideas

Christmas Gifts for the Gardener

Christmas gift boxes

Gardeners are tricky people to gift with presents because they tend to be very opinionated. For example, I only will use one particular brand of gardening gloves. Likewise, I use one specific pruner so don’t tempt me with any others, as I don’t want them. There might be better ones on the market—but I’m not about to change.

However, don’t despair because there are several worthy organizations that welcome gift memberships—and give a lot in return to both experienced and novice gardeners.

Crazy about roses? Join the American Rose Society. Regardless of whether you are an exhibitor, passionate about sustainable roses, or only grow those roses suitable for floral arrangements, this is the organization for you. They put out a substantial magazine six times a year and are clearly here to educate the American public on the art of growing roses. Want an update on rose rosette disease or the best of the new rose introductions? This is the website to visit. For members only, the website gives detailed answers to questions on exhibiting roses, growing roses, arranging roses, and garden design. Concerned with those diseases afflicting roses? Their “Guide to Rose Diseases and their Management” is hard to beat. See their recommendations on the best rose fertilizers, always a confusing subject.

The American Hosta Society is the perfect organization for hosta aficionados. The Society publishes three issues a year of The Hosta Journal, which is a mine of information on how to grow and nourish your hostas. Their education section is excellent, describing not only disease prevention but also delving into the history of hostas. Which ones were the first to arrive on American soil? Which hosta species is well worth growing? Which cultivar is the Hosta of the Year? This website is excellent.

The American Hemerocallis Society is devoted to the daylily. The Society publishes The Daylily Journal four times a year: This journal instructs the reader how to hybridize daylilies, informs about the latest cultivars, and instructs how to care for your daylilies. Are you interested in the Stout Winners of Excellence? This is your website (check out ‘Rose F. Kennedy’ that won in 2016). Many gardeners collect the Stout Winners, as these daylilies have proven to be not only beautiful but also incredibly reliable—and not all daylily hybrids grow well. This is a great place to begin if you are just tipping your big toe into the daylily world or if you have nourished daylilies in your garden for years.

Generally, I avoid national gardening magazines simply because I don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to gardening. What works in Utah is not necessarily appropriate for North Carolina. The American Horticultural Society is the one exception. Membership includes a subscription to The American Gardener, published six times a year. The website is very educational, including interesting articles on how to grow tomatoes and how to plant a pollinator garden.

If camellias are your passion, consider a membership in the American Camellia Society. This includes a subscription to the American Camellia Journal, published on a quarterly basis. The website has some interesting information, including the history of camellias and the diseases that can inflict the genus. There is a lot more to the genus besides C. japonica, C. sasanqua, and C. sinensis (the tea plant). The society also offers an electronic membership if you prefer to read the journal online.

All these non-profit organizations are worthy of our support—and these are the first places I turn to if I have a problem with my roses, camellias, hostas, and daylilies. And for local options, the JC Raulston Arboretum, the Duke Gardens and the North Carolina Botanical Garden also sell gift memberships.

Support these organizations in the spirit of the holidays by bestowing a gift membership on an appreciative gardener.

After joining the Durham County Extension Master Gardeners in 2003, Kit Flynn now has emeritus status. She writes gardening articles for the Durham County Extension Master Gardener newsletter, an online magazine “Senior Correspondent,” and “The Absentee Gardeners” column for “The Blowing Rocket” with Lise Jenkins.