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Great gift ideas for gardeners

Moving focal points and plants in a landscape is not only common, it is to be expected. Deciding to move a flagstone pathway isn't frustrating, it's exhilarating.

Of course, these facts are only understood by gardeners. For the gardener, every gardening choice is a thrilling tidbit for the brain to mull and ponder before discovering the magical solution.

The efforts of choosing are part of the pleasure of gardening, and also why most gardeners abhor the idea of a loved one giving them, unrequested, a tree or a bench as a gift.

The tree might be a straggly brute wanting to take up valuable space and resources, while the bench is probably an uncomfortable and aesthetic nightmare waiting to be regifted at the earliest opportunity.

For gardeners, the best self- defense is to create a wish list for gifts. The power of tearing out pictures from garden catalogs and placing them on the refrigerator door is amazing. You'll be happy and your gift-giver will be happier.

Buying gifts for gardeners who don't have a list isn't easy, but I have plenty of great ideas for all price ranges.

Gift certificates are always thoughtful. You can purchase them from a variety of places: online stores, nurseries, stone centers, hardware stores and botanical garden gift shops.

If you want to give a tool, consider pruners made by Felco. Their pruners are top-quality and will last the rest of a gardener's life.

Choosing the gift of landscape services is a clever idea. Hire a landscape crew to perform clean-up work and spread fresh mulch. Prepay a landscape designer to plan a front yard or new backyard for a custom gift. Contact a stone mason about creating a flagstone terrace or installing stone steps in a hillside.

Have someone spread an inch of rotted manure over your entire landscape for the gardening love of your life. It's true love when you're confident enough to give a ton of manure.

Gardeners are alike in many ways, especially in never having enough garden books. A few garden authors transcend eras and continents with their knowledge.

Sir Roy Strong is one of the best garden designers alive today. One of his used books is of greater value than most new books.

Rosemary Verey, also English, is an excellent garden author whose "The Garden In Winter" won't be improved upon soon.

Elizabeth Lawrence wrote "A Southern Garden" about how to garden and which plants to choose, but somehow completed it in a manner known as literature, not how-to.

Getting the perfect gift for a gardener isn't easy, but at least now you have a few choices and directions to consider. And yes, there really are many gardeners that would adore a ton of manure.

E-mail Tara Dillard at taradillard@agardenview.biz.