Before purchasing any gardening book about outdoor gardening, look to see where the author lives and gardens says a central Alberta gardening expert. (Pixabay photo)

Before purchasing any gardening book about outdoor gardening, look to see where the author lives and gardens says a central Alberta gardening expert. (Pixabay photo)

Give a gardening book this Christmas

Still looking for presents for the gardener in your life?

A gardening book, if chosen with care, can make a good present. For the most part, gardening books are either instructions on how to do something or plant references.

Both genres cover a multitude of topics. When looking at how to books, choose ones that interest the gardener and are slightly above their level of expertise which allows them to try out new ideas and learn.

Reference books also need to be relevant to the gardener’s interest and location.

Before purchasing any gardening book about outdoor gardening, look to see where the author lives and gardens. The goal is to insure the information pertains to the area or zone where your gardener lives.

When purchasing books on growing plants indoors, be sure the book includes each plant’s preferred growing conditions including: light level, temperature, fertilizer, soil and moisture.

Gift certificates from local garden centers, or favorite seed companies are always welcome as it allows the gardener plan and dream for the next season.

Support a local farmer and purchase a gift certificate for fresh produce delivered throughout the 2021 growing season. CSA, Consumer Supported Agriculture works on the premise that customers either pay up front or pay weekly for a basket of fresh in season produce. The amount of produce received depends on the package purchased and the season.

The Alberta government has a list of SCA gardens:

It is a good starting place to search. Word of mouth, local agriculture offices, farmer’s markets are other places to look for local producers.

Garden supports are an integral part of any garden as they keep plants upright. Plant supports can be hidden by foliage as the season progresses or main structures such as trellises. Plant supports may be designed for one plant or may work for a number of different ones. When purchasing plant supports look for ones that are sturdy and large enough to support the plants at maturity. If they are going to be visible, they should be attractive and fit into the theme of the garden.

Garden ties are often needed to hold the plants in place but they should be discreet, not obvious. Ties are available in an assortment of products and styles. Look for ones that are wide enough that they will not choke the plant when tied tight.

Early and late frosts plague most gardeners. Giving a gardener a floating row cover is the same as giving them another month of gardening. The average floating cover will provide 5 degrees of frost protection if the fabric is secured at the ground level. The polyspun cover allows moisture and sunlight to penetrate. The floating row cover also works as an insect barrier in the vegetable garden.

This year’s local artisan events have been canceled or limited, find out there contact information to see what they have available for the garden. Unique benches and bird feeders always add to the garden. Their contact information should be available through the event organizers.

Linda Tomlinson has gardened in central Alberta for over 30 years. She can be reached at

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