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‘Tis season to be thoughtful in one’s giving

The thought of selecting Christmas presents for friends can be difficult enough, but more than stressful when family members are involved. So where to start and, more especially, where to find such inspiration? For the avid or simply keen gardener, tools, equipment or an unusual plant — as a status symbol especially if you know the botanical name — can be right on target. Personally, I am OK with not receiving a gift, especially if it is not practical or functional or wearable; more so if it's even difficult to give away or dispose of in some surreptitious manner!

But for those who struggle with the eternal flame of Christmas giving, perhaps the following ideas may just kindle an interest:

Fruit trees are not as popular in Bermuda gardens as they could be, as property size is often the problem, but for those gardens that can accommodate one or two trees — contingent on type — consider, mangos, peaches, nectarines and apples. The average garden could accommodate at least one tree, but keep in mind the location of the property, as fruit trees prefer protected areas. Do not forget the smaller fruiting plants such as pomegranate, guava, natal plum, passion fruit and, of course, citrus — all of which can be used in the flower bed as an entity unto itself.

Tools and equipment are a must in any garden — some types more than others — but having a range of each certainly makes any job easier. A brand with a good track record is Stihl, and they offer a wide range of products including the following:

• Chainsaws are very useful for those gardens with larger type plantings; a 12in to 15in-blade should be adequate for most gardens. For more established gardens with large, mature trees a 24in blade is sufficient. Remember, the larger the saw, the heavier it gets, and it requires more understanding of usage.

I am not a “believer” in trimmers as in the wrong hands they can do more damage than good, however they are useful for clearing rough areas.

Lawn edgers are an excellent tool for keeping a nice straight edge on the lawn and well worth the cost as the finish is far more attractive than the ubiquitous trimmer which is often used for the same job.

Pruning saws and pole pruners are a must in every garden but, as with any tool, must be maintained to get the best results. Secateurs are ideal for pruning roses and shrubs with small branches, but nothing too large as this will result in “straining” the blade movement and produce a poor cut.

Indigenous and Invasive Plants of Bermuda is an excellent book for the coffee table. Published by the Department of Conservation Services it's worth reading simply for its interest and information. The text is clear and helpful, the photographs are useful in identifying plants and it is written for the home gardener or professional. It tries to be resourceful in its comments as would befit the department's mandate.

Adding interest to the garden in a supplementary way enhances the aesthetic value; consider using bird boxes around the garden to encourage avian activity. Create a corner for plants that will attract butterflies; an ideal tool to teach youngsters about nature.

Pots and containers appear to be with us for the foreseeable future. To make a statement, incorporate them in the flower beds with or without plants, they can be quite eye-catching either way.

Statuary is not used as much as it could be in the garden and becomes an added interest, especially when neighbouring plants are not in bloom.

Wishing you all an enjoyable festive season and happy digging in 2016.

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Published December 01, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm)

‘Tis season to be thoughtful in one’s giving

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