Gardening Matters

The annual holiday season is almost upon us.  Again this year, I will remind you that according to sacred tradition, this is the time of the year when faithful local newspaper readers shower their otherwise unemployable garden columnist with extravagant gifts, such as a teak Lutyens garden bench.  Or, perhaps, a nice Haws watering can.  Their model 26:B:790TTM would be swell. 

Moving right ahead…if the gardener in your life is like me, a bit challenged when it comes to garden design, give the gift of a landscape consultation and design from one of our areas nurseries.  Atlanta area landscaping stalwarts Pikes and Hastings both offer such a service.  Autumn Hill Nursery in Woodstock and Scottsdale Farms in Alpharetta also offer landscape design services.  

Prices vary but you should be able to get a consultation visit and a plan for about $150-$500, depending on the size of your property and the complexity of your own ideas. Some nurseries offer a discount on any plants you buy from them if you have been a design customer.  These same firms can also do the installation work for you.  Contact these nurseries directly for further information and details.

From our “He Who Dies With The Most Tools Wins” department come these suggestions.  See the garden items at Garrett Wade Tools ( Click on the tab for “Outdoor Tools”.  They have great tools for gardeners and outdoorsy folks.  My fellow Master Gardeners have suggested several nice items:  A pair of Felco pruning shears (model #2), a collapsible bucket, a kneeling pad for weeding, a low stool garden seat, a clever device for making seedling pots from newspaper and other goodies.  Check Gardener’s Supply Co. ( for these suggested items and more.  

For the whimsical gardener in your life, see Green Thumbs Galore ( They have lots of fun stuff, clever stocking stuffers or grab bag gifts.

Now, let’s consider gifts of yard art.  On second thought, let’s not go there.

For those of you who have actually taken to heart my blathering about native plants let me suggest a couple of good sources that have gift certificates.  They both have great plants and many hard-to-find plants. Gardens of the Blue Ridge in Pineola, N.C., has the most extensive list of Southeastern native wildflowers that I have found. (, 828-733-2417).  Closer to home is Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, Ga.  They have an extensive list of native plants, from trees to perennials to ferns and more. (, 770-460-6284.)

For those of the organic persuasion, there are several great sources for gifts. Atlanta’s own Farmer D has everything organic including fertilizers, pest control supplies, books, tools etc.  See their website ( Seeds of Change is another great source for organic gardening supplies and gifts.  Check them out at ( I have used Arbico Organics for supplies of beneficial insects to help organically control garden pests.  As we all know, nothing says “Peace on Earth” like a fresh batch of beneficial nematodes!  See their website ( for ideas for the serious organic gardener.

Memberships in various gardening related organizations are always appreciated.  Around Atlanta we have the Georgia Native Plant Society, the Georgia Perennial Plant Association, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and our own Dunwoody Nature Center.  Google them by name.  Their website will have information on how to become a member. 

These suggestions should give you some help in making a gardener happy.  Not to drone on about it, but you still have time to order that Lutyens bench or Haws watering can and make someone a very happy garden columnist.

Best wishes to all of you in the coming season.

Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 30 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive.   He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group.  He can be reached at

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