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Green Gifts for All Seasons

By Mark Zoeller, Assistant Director

The holidays are a time when many of us struggle to find just the right gift for those on our list. If the people in question are gardeners, plants or a gift certificate to the local garden center would make a wonderful present. If you need more help, I am pleased to offer my A thru Z gift giving guide for the gardener in your life.

  1. Aesculus x carnea (Red Horsechstnut): This small tree is a wonderful addition to the landscape. In may rose-red flowers cover the tree giving your yard a tropical feel.
  2. Betula nigra (River Birch): the exfoliating bark is a handsome addition to the landscape year round.
  3. Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet): In July and August, the sweet fragrance of this white bloomer can permeate an entire garden.
  4. Dirr, as in Michael Dirr. This University of Georgia professor writes the horticulture textbooks of choice. Look for Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs.
  5. Evodia daniellii (Korean Evodia): This hardy small tree offers many seasons of enjoyment with creamy white flowers, red to black berries and smooth gray bark.
  6. Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Fothergilla): Wonderful fall color, bottlebrush like blooms and interesting foliage, whats not to love about this shrub?
  7. Gear: Pruners, loppers, spades all are gifts most gardeners would drool over.
  8. Heptacodium miconioides (Seven-Son Flower): This small tree has beautiful reddish flowers in late summer and great cinnamon colored bark.
  9. Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire): Shade, sun, wet soils, dry soils, this shrub can handle it all. It rewards the gardener with interesting growth shape, red and maroon fall colors and ample white blooms.
  10. Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica): This underutilized tree has excellent fruit display and creamy fragrant flowers.
  11. Koelreuteria paniculata (Golden Raintree): This medium size tree has great shape and the golden blooms always catch the eye in early summer.
  12. Lonicera x heckrotii (Gold flame Honeysuckle): This vining honeysuckle will bloom all summer. Many color combinations are available.
  13. Magnolia: There are so many wonderful Magnolias from which to choose that almost any garden can benefit from their presence. Look for the yellow blooming Butterflies Magnolia.
  14. Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum): This native tree gives the trues red fall color we see in our area. The glossy green leaves are a bonus.
  15. Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood): This small tree offers a distinctive look for the landscape. The drooping foliage turns a brilliant maroon in the fall.
  16. Philadelphus (Mockorange): This border shrub has show white blooms in early summer.
  17. Quercus alba (White Oak): If you have the room for a large shade tree, few rival the white oak. It grows 50 to 80 ft. high, and will give a good acorn display and fall color.
  18. Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac): Everyone knows that hillsides can be hard to plant. Fragrant sumac can be the answer. This shrub colonizes and is wonderful for erosion control. The uniquely shaped foliage turns orange, bronze and maroon in the fall.
  19. Stewartia sinensis (Chinese Stewartia): The white fragrant flowers are nice, but the real show stopping attribute of this small tree is the smooth almost polished bark.
  20. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera): The state tree has dynamite yellow fall color, magnolia like blooms, but even cooler are the “cat face” shaped leaves.
  21. Ulmus parvifolia (Lacebark Elm): This shade tree will not overwhelm most home landscapes, offers dappled shade making it possible to grow grass underneath, and has outstanding exfoliating bark. It is also adaptable to most any environment.
  22. Viburnum: You pick. There are so many wonderful species of Viburnum that gardeners will be able to find one to fit almost any situation.
  23. Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria): The blooms are show stoppers. The woody vine can also provide quick shade when draped over a trellis.
  24. Xeriscaping: This is the science of gardening in drought conditions. Sound familiar? This is a topic that would interest area gardeners tired of pulling hoses.
  25. Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea): The white blooms are nice on this specimen tree, but I am even more partial to the yellow fall color and smooth gray bark.
  26. Zoo Poopy Doo. Any of the plants listed above would love to be planted in a soil enriched by the most exotic compost available.