Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For those cacti and succulent lovers on your shopping list, here are some practical suggestions.
When gardening in warm climates, trellises, arbors, arches, and other plant supports make good gifts. This is particularly true if the gardener grows climbing and clambering cacti and succulents. These plant supports are made from various materials from wood and metal to vinyl. The latter is cheaper, but isn’t as attractive.
Plant supports come in a range of sizes and styles from small, individual pillar-like wrought iron structures to full-scale cathedral garden arches. It all depends on your budget and the size of the cacti and succulent garden.
Though it’s true that cacti and succulents generally need less fertilizer than other plants, this makes a welcome holiday gift. Special cacti/succulent formulas are available. All purpose, soluble ones are also suitable. Choose ones that are low in nitrogen, which is the first number listed on the label (5-10-10, for example).
When a loved one has an outdoor garden, choose some hardy perennial species, such as a collection of hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum spp.) or stonecrops (Sedum spp.).
For those with container gardens, some cactus potting soil would be appreciated. This is formulated to be quick draining.
One of the best gardening gifts by far is the Baer’s 2009 Agricultural Almanac and Gardener’s Guide. A five year subscription to the almanac is even better. Published by John Baer’s Sons, this marks the 184th issue of this American classic. This is edited by Gerald S. Lestz. Senior citizens get a discount when ordering 12 or more copies. See the website for more details.
The 2009 edition features articles on perennials, native plants, Thomas Jefferson’s garden, poppies, scrumptious Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, and protecting trees. In addition, the almanac features folklore, poetry, and highlights from American history as well as farm and garden news.
Baer’s Almanac features in-depth charts for each month and details on the weather forecasts, moon phases, and planets. There are also helpful tables, including vegetable and seed planting tables, and fishing calendars. This is illustrated with gorgeous sketches and photos.
Cacti and succulent gardeners need a place to keep their gardening records, files, articles, catalogs, and related materials. For that reason, I highly recommend Galison’s line of stylish home office filing aids. These include the sturdy, attractive, expanding File Totes. They come with a set of matching labels. Also, consider including a coordinated set of file folders. The file tote has a sturdy die cut handle and elastic enclosure. This has eight roomy, interior, expanding dividers.
Galison also has some very attractive magazine holders. These durable holders have lots of spaces for holding garden magazines, garden files, and notes. Each set contains three holders with six color coordinating labels. Four of the magazine holder sets feature garden themes.
Gardeners always need garden gloves for those tough outdoor gardening jobs, such as spreading stone mulch around succulents. For gifts, choose high quality gloves that will last.
Outdoor cacti and succulent gardeners can always use stone, rock, and gravel mulches. These come in a range of colors and sizes.
For a decorative touch to home and garden, the agave candleholders are a perfect gift for succulent lovers. Made of galvanized metal, these are painted light blue. They look quite realistic. Nestle this in a terra cotta pot, and you have perfect lighting for a succulent-surrounded patio. A votive or tea candle rests in the center of the ag