9 December 2012 - 4:01pm

Christmas present ideas for gardeners

Stuck for Christmas presents? How about these: A book, the best present ever. ‘Ten Poems and Gardens’, introduced very eloquently by Monty Don, is a lovely small gift. I got given it for my birthday by my mate Liz and it is a lovely read. From 'Vespers'; 'This is how he gardens: fifteen minutes of intense effort, fifteen minutes of ecstatic contemplation..' Remind you of anyone? ‘1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die’ is bigger, with some great pictures and a fair bit of background for each garden. Although it is expensive it is great value. My kind son bought me 'Mushrooms' by Roger Phillips with over 1,250 photos to help you work out what is edible and what is not. Some fab names: Plantpot dapperling, Greasy Green Brittlegill and Soapy Knight. And there is always a Kate’s Cuttings book at the very reasonable price of £8.50. Give me a ring if you want one and I’ll deliver it to your door. Or you can get one from the Tollerton School office: we are making a donation to the school for each one sold. There is a preview of it on the www.katescuttings.net website. A garden tool is another great present: my favourite is a decent pair of secateurs. I’m also a big fan of nice string – don’t laugh, the decent stuff is expensive but satisfyingly natural looking and long lasting. I’m hoping for some new wellies this year as the new dog has eaten my old ones. There are some great, brightly coloured ones around that are real fun. Or how about giving a gift of a garden study day? Sarah Raven runs them and they also offer a great range at Great Dixter in Sussex. They are coming down in price a bit: no doubt they are feeling the impact of the difficult economic climate too. Sarah Raven runs courses on floristry, growing vegetables and cookery www.sarahraven.com Great Dixter workshops include meadow gardening, exotic gardening and succession planning www.greatdixter.co.uk I’ve tried the Great Dixter events and can wholeheartedly recommend them. We are opening ‘Charnwood’ to the public at a different time next year, in late June. So in preparation I’ve been working out what we need to do to get the garden looking at its best. I bought some huge lilies and planted them in big pots and have started to think about what perennials and annuals will be looking good then. It seems a long way off, but, from experience, I know it won’t seem five minutes before panic sets in and we are a week away from opening! Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2013. ‘Kate’s Cuttings’ will return in February. Photos of random fungi taken at 'Charnwood 'November 2012