Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
I know people that spend days doing their Christmas shopping. That isn’t really necessary if you have flower lovers on your holiday shopping list. They’re content with any number of items that relate to flowers. There are flower-related gifts to suit every budget.
Let’s start with something as basic as calendars. Everyone needs them, and flower lovers would appreciate those with flowers and bouquets. Award-winning Canadian photographer Bela Baliko specializes in wildlife and nature. His calendars are available in bookstores and online. For a complete list, look for the link on this page to his website. For 2005, look for his "American Wildflowers" calendar. This features exquisite photography for which he has become so well known. It includes breathtaking shots of roses, lady's slippers, lilies, and much more.
From Browntrout Publishers comes the “Flowers” 2005 wall calendar. It features eye-catching photos of roses, freesias, and other flowers by Deborah Schenck. This also has a bonus image with a four-month planner, which means this is really a 16-month calendar.
Graphique de France has published “Garden Bouquets” 2005 wall calendar. For this item, the photographers selected shots that reveal the splendor and fleeting beauty of garden-fresh flowers. The bouquets offer inspiring ideas for floral designers, and show how all sorts of unusual containers can be used in creating evocative arrangements. Graphique also has several other wall calendars of particular interest to floral designers. These include “In Full Bloom” by Jan Ceravolo, presents seasonal blooms at their very best. “Georgia O’Keeffe” features twelve different flower paintings by the artist. She was noted for her flower art, and these represent the cream of the crop. They’re all so appealing that I find it hard to choose a favorite.
Flower and garden stationery is a perfect gift for flower lovers. Portal Publications has any number of suitable choices. They’ve published a line of cards by renowned floral photographer Barbara Bordnick. Her specialty is close-ups of flowers, and they’re just fantastic. The collection includes blank cards as ones for various occasions.
Flower lovers would be delighted to receive handmade items with flowers, such as wall hangings, pillows, and the like. “A Heartland Album-More Techniques in Hand Appliqué” by Kathy Delaney from Kansas City Star Books is the best source around for flower quilts. Delaney is a best-selling author of numerous other quilting titles. This title features so many wonderful blocks and designs, including a spiral rose trapunto pillow, a prairie flowers pillow, and quilt flower blocks. For each one, the author provides complete, step by step, color-illustrated instructions. Since 1928, the Kansas City Star has published quilt patterns and designs. This book features an entire list of those patterns.
Tulips are considered the aristocrats of garden plants, and they belong in every cutting garden. For that reason, “Tulips for North American Gardens” by Brent and Becky Heath is a perfect gift. This book was published by Bright Sky Press. It is beautifully illustrated in full color. The authors provide all the information you’ll need to grow tulips. They give complete details on every phase of tulip growing—from choosing the proper varieties to planting and caring for them. At the end of the book, there’s a quick reference chart of tulips. In addition, there’s a pictorial guide to 200 individual kinds.
What flower lover wouldn’t want a book on roses? Cut flower gardeners want easy to grow plants. “Simply Roses-the Essential Guide to Easy Gardening” by Karen L. Dardick from Universe Publishing, a division of Rizzoli, is a practical, no-nonsense reference for flower lovers. Based on her popular newspaper column, this title takes the guesswork out of growing roses. She tells how to choose ones for your situation and needs, how to buy, grow, and care for them. In addition, the author includes information on rose breeding, public rose gardens, rose festivals, and much more. At the end, there’s a garden calendar that tells you when to perform various garden chores for your roses.
In the spring, flower lovers eagerly await the arrival of the wildflowers. Give a gift that the flower lover can use throughout the year, such as a book on these ephemeral blossoms. There are suitable volumes for different areas of the country. For the Southeast area, a great choice is “Wildflowers of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains” by Oscar W. Gupton et al. Published by the University Press of Virginia, this best-selling title covers nearly 300 species, many of which are found throughout the Southeast. This book is very user-friendly. The flowers are arranged in groups according to color, so it’s easy to locate the one you’re looking for. Along with a color photo, it includes the Latin, common names and family names along with the flowering time, habitat, and a complete description. In addition, the authors also provide details on the plants’ useful value, or toxic nature.
Flower lovers tend to have overlapping interest in gardening and nature. For that reason, I highly recommend “Earth Bound-Daily Meditations For All Seasons” by Brian Nelson from Skinner House Books. Whatever one’s view of nature may be, this book offers something of value. Though the book is organized as a book of days with a meditation for each one, the author explains that the entries need not be read in any particular order. This volume speaks to the heart of every nature lover, and inspires us to look for the spiritual throughout the year in our daily experiences. Taking a holistic approach, it is suitable for people of all faiths. As a playwright, the author writes for television and film, and teaches as well. He has also edited an anthology of plays as well.
For that flower lover, create purses, bags, and totebags in floral prints. It's easy to do when you use the wonderful patterns from Four Corners Designs. Check out their website for all these wonderful pattern books. "Grab & Go Totes" features four bags in fifteen different variations with four optional features. This book has full-size pattern pieces, and fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions. Women never have enough tote bags, and with this book you can find many ways to personalize these beautiful handmade gifts.
"The X Bag" pattern was also published by Four Corners. This delightful pattern features three different styles of bags. These contain three handy compartments and a lovely crossover design outside. The pattern allows you to choose from the quilted bag, a two print bag, and a denim/print version. If desired, cardboard inserts can be used to create a bag with a more definite shape.
Four Corners also offers "Chenille Chill Chasers." This quick and easy project was designed by Vicky Konrady. It features wonderful patterns with step-by-step instructions for several different styles of hats and scarves. These are items that recipients can use for months to come, and think of you everytime they wear them. It has full-size pattern pieces and letters of the alphabet so you can personalize this handmade gift.