Saturday, December 10, 2005

Garden Magazine Subscriptions Make Perfect Holiday Gifts

By Christina VanGinkel

My husband is the official gardener in the family, with myself not having much luck when it comes to growing things, yet I plod on year after year, as I love everything there is about gardening. I love digging in the dirt come spring, when the snow has barely gone, turning the earth over, letting it breathe is what I always tell anyone who would ask me what in the world I am doing in the garden so early. I am thrilled when the first shoots of green pop though the dirt, announcing they have survived yet another year. When the greenhouses open, we also know that spring has officially arrived, no matter what date the calendar says it is.

So what about in the winter, when it is too cold for anything green to exist outdoors, save for a pine tree with its branches covered in snow? How do I stay in the gardening mood even then? Well, I love walking down our long driveway to the mailbox in the middle of a snow covered winter day, to be greeted by a fresh supply of gardening catalogs and magazines. The everyday catalogs that land in my mailbox are treated with respect, read, even shopped from, but then discarded. Not so the garden catalogs. They have a shelf of their own in the house, and misery for any person who would dare toss one in the garbage before I have determined it has outlived its lifespan. People need to know that even when you cannot order from a garden catalog any longer, that a reader might still find something useful within it pages, such as a tip on when you can safely plant in a northern Zone, or to browse, to remind the reader that spring, and gardening, will come again. Garden magazines are even treated with more respect, and coveted year after year, as information in a magazine about cars or computers may go out of date, but not so the information in your favorite garden magazine. The information is most often as current a year later as it was the day it was printed, save for a few of the ads. This fact alone makes a subscription to a gardening magazine a good choice for a gift this holiday season.

At this time of year, when most people are thinking about the holidays and snow plowing, I am looking forward to getting my next issue of Horticulture Magazine, which arrives year round, and reading on the variety of plants and flowers, the anecdotes, even the ads for other magazines and catalogs. Garden magazines in general are a good source of plans for building projects that are geared for our gardens, and plant care for those that need care indoors during the cold months. They also are oftentimes filled with ideas for garden trails and water features such as ponds and fountains. Reading about these projects in the winter, gives us plenty of planning time to gear up for those we want to attempt in our own gardens come spring. Some of my favorite magazines on gardening, that are often filled with tips and inspiration for all aspects of the garden, and that might be the perfect gift for someone on your holiday list (maybe yourself!), include:

Garden Design
Better Homes and Gardens
The Practical Gardener
Fine Gardening
The American Gardener

A subscription to any one of these magazines would make a gardening enthusiast, or someone who wishes they were, an excellent gift this holiday season, and give them an opportunity to dream until spring.

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