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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


      Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts

      Friday, November 26, 2010

      GARDEN GIFTS, ZERO COST

      There's no trick to buying a great gift if you have a hefty budget: a meaningful, practical and original book like "Edible Landscaping" by Rosalind Creasy; the perfect tool for your favorite gardener, like Fiskars long handle tree pruner; one of the composters from Gardener's Supply Co. But let's think long and hard about a great garden gift that costs nothing but ingenuity.

      A favorite gift on the receiving end came some years ago when Ben & I first moved to our farm. Our family had decided that for our holiday gifts that year, it would have to be something you made, had in your possession already, or an IOU for a future service. I was about to start my new garden. Son Mike & daughter-in-law Em gave me a treasure map with clues. The whole party accompanied me to track down the gift secreted in the bottom of the barn: 5 big bags of well rotted horse manure.

      If you have no horse manure some other ideas.
      1.Do you have any compost you can share with a New Yorker who has treasured houseplants? Wrap and label it prettily, give it your brand name/logo, and you've given a treasure.
      2. Take a cutting from a favorite houseplant, root it, plant it in one of those many extra pots you have, washed to be impeccably clean. Add a plant name, a little story about the plant, care instructions, and voila!3. Make a holiday wreath from greens that you prune from the garden. Add some natural decorations like cones, pods or bark, natural or sprayed gold or copper. Give in early December so your recipient can enjoy it for a long time.
      4. A nicely printed gift certificate for several hours of weeding/and or pruning to a person who hates those chores. Or if you live close by, a visit or two of plant or garden care while the giftee goes on vacation.5. A favorite gift to give was a session of garden coaching, presented to a young couple, non-gardeners who had just moved into their first home. I gave them a gift certificate listing my services: two hours of on-site garden design, plant suggestions and gardening instruction.
      6.What's your best idea for a no-cost garden gift? Betsy, are you reading? I hope you've been saving those tasty dried petals for me from your apothecary rose. I need them for a dessert I want to try.

      Monday, December 1, 2008

      A Creative Gift

      Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers by Alan Detrick, (Timber Press, 2008, 24.95 paperbound)

      This can’t be an unbiased book review when the author, Alan Detrick is a good friend, a colleague and my collaborator on one book, two magazines and many other projects. Instead it’s an appreciation from a grateful student for a teacher, who with words and many stunning pictures can make me stop, observe, think, notice and change how I perceive the world. This is no mean feat and Detrick accomplishes his goals in this book partly by giving the reader the rationale behind the photos. Many times he offers side-by-side images of the same subject taken two or more different ways, pointing not only technical differences, but his visualization of the outcome.©Alan & Linda Detrick

      Detrick defines macro photography as “capturing an image that’s at least the same size on film or digital sensor as the actual subject and up to 10X the size of the actual subject”. There’s absolutely no need to be either a gardener or a nature lover to enjoy ‘Macro Photography’. It will tell any photographer how to capture fantastic light and patterns, and the flowers, leaves or insects can be almost incidental. His discussions of backgrounds struck a chord, because while I’m very aware of junk in a picture, I’m much less aware of how adding (or subtracting) splashes of background color can make or break the image.
      ©Alan & Linda Detrick

      But maybe because I am a dedicated gardener, I found the bug images particularly enchanting, a change from my usual concentration on flowers and foliage. I’m left with the feeling that even I could capture a pollen covered bee just crawling out of an early morning flower if I follow the master’s tips.

      There’s a big downside to this book however. It’s hard to simply read and admire. It may cause you to run out to buy a macro lens, the low tripod, cable release and other necessities to try macro yourself. Detrick is a one-man economic stimulus package.

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