Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Shopping for dads can be so much fun. We know what sort of things they like, so it is just a matter of choosing appropriate gifts in a price range we can afford.
For many dads, flowers, flower arrangements, and potted plants make ideal gifts. Whether you create a special floral design or buy one especially made for Father’s Day, it is an ideal choice.
Various kinds of plants are suitable, including everything from flowering pot plants to houseplants.
For a long-lasting floral design, create something special using dried flowers. “Dried Flowers For All Seasons-Creating the Fresh-Flower Look Year-Round” by Jan and Michael Gertley from Taunton Press. The book features many inspiring design ideas with everything from gift baskets, and wreaths to cornucopias. The authors have organized the designs by season, and provided color-illustrated, step-by-step instructions for each. In addition this volume features complete instructions on growing, drying, and designing with dried flowers. In the appendix, there is a handy list of plants by color.
For a really unusual plant gift, create a very special bonsai by following the instructions in “Pop Bonsai-Fun With Arranging Small Trees and Plants” by Lisa Tajima from Kodansha America. Pop bonsai very special. The author has taken the ancient art of bonsai and updated it to suit modern sensibilities, and has banished the use of staid bonsai pots. The results are wild and zany. Start with a really original container, such as a guitar, motorcycle helmet, or a rubber shoe, and you’re all set. She walks you through every step of creating and choosing plants, designs, tools, materials, and techniques needed for this updated art form. Bonsai will never be the same.
When your dad is a gardener, shopping is easy. A gardening book is a perfect choice. Start by checking out the Black & Decker how-to series published by Creative Publications International. There is one on about every gardening subject you can imagine.
Other suitable gardening titles focus on specific building projects and garden features. I highly recommend “Garden Stone-Creative Landscaping With Plants and Stone” by Barbara Pleasant from Storey. This title won the 2003 Garden Globe Award of Achievement in Writing from the Garden Writers Association. It features inspiring photos by Dency Kane, a professional photographer whose work has appeared in Garden Design. Whether your dad plans on building a stone wall, rock garden, or water garden of stone, he’ll find all the information he needs in this beautifully illustrated, informative book. For each project, the author includes a plant directory.
“Outdoor Projects Step-by-Step” by Penny Swift and Janek Szymakowski from The Lyons Press features functional and ornamental projects. It features separate sections for stone, brick, wood, and water. Each section features a thorough introduction to the material along with tools, tips, techniques, design ideas. Whether your dad wants to create a rustic garden bench, build a barbecue nook, or add paving to the garden, he’ll find easy to follow, step-by-step instructions in this title.
If plant-related gifts don’t seem appropriate, there are always many other suitable gifts. It can be a special creation of your own, such as a special scrapbook featuring photos and memorabilia of those wonderful occasions you’ve shared with your dad.
For those “honey, do” projects around the house and home, do-it-yourself types need handy reference books. That is exactly what they get from “The Everything Fix-It Book” by Yvonne Jeffery from Adams. This all-in-one home reference offers simple step-by-step instructions on all the basics of home repair with everything from diagnosing the problem to choosing the tools and getting it done.
From Taunton Press comes “House Check-Finding and Fixing Common House Problems” by Michael Lithcfield with Roger Robinson comes an extremely handy, easy to use spiral-bound guide for over 600 interior and exterior trouble spots. So far as I’m concerned, this is the essential guide to home maintenance. The information is organized into handy tables listing the trouble signs, its cause, and what you should do about it.
If your dad is the outdoors type, he may need a hiking guide of some sort. Houghton Mifflin has released “The North American Prairie” in the Peterson Field Guide series. It was written by Stephen R. Jones and Ruth Carol Cushman. This title was sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Covering both Canada and the U.S., it features a wonderful introduction to the ecology of the prairires. It is beautifully illustrated with color photos of the animals and plants native to the region. Under each state, there are numerous sites of interest along with a natural history and tips on where to hike and camp.
Nature and animal lovers will be delighted with “Self-Portrait With Turtles-a Memoir” by David M. Carroll, published by Houghton Mifflin. Winner of the John Burroughs Medal, the highest honor for nature writers, he has also written “The Year of the Turtle” and numerous other titles. This memoir is destined to become a nature classic like “Walden” and “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” In this engrossing volume, he recounts how he was fascinated with turtles as a child and how he came to recognize that his true calling was as an artist and naturalist even though it was initially hard to earn a living doing that. Perhaps this inspiring story will influence others with similar interest to pursue what they really love.