Gift-giving is the theme this week, and sometimes the best gifts don't cost anything and don't need wrapping.
The first gift I would like to wish for all of you is the gift of good health.
I have come to realize the true worth of this during the past few months. It is difficult to be a good gardener without a healthy body with which to get out there and work. Difficult, but not impossible. A heavy dose of determination, the help of friends, wise use of tools and some careful planning serve to keep things under control.
But for that to happen, a few more gifts are necessary, and the first of those is friends and family.
It is good to be stubborn and independent up to a point, and I have large doses of those qualities, but when there comes a time that help is needed, we all need to be humble enough to accept the generosity of those around us and gracious enough to acknowledge our appreciation. Somehow the right person seems to appear where the need is greatest, and necessary tasks get done.
My garden got through late summer and fall when I was limited to just looking out of the window, with watering, weeding and pruning accomplished as if by magic. My wish to everyone is for friends and family like mine.
And then a gardener needs the gift of time.
It is difficult for parents of young children to find the necessary minutes in their crowded days to go out and pull a few weeds or run the mower across the grass, but the rewards are great. A few breaths of fresh air and the exercise involved in gardening are good for body and
Look for an old playpen at a garage sale next spring and keep it in a shady spot, and your baby can enjoy the outside with you near at hand. Under a tree is good. I have watched three generations of babies staring up at the
fluttering leaves and the blue sky.
Another memorable gift is the one you give to your neighbors and those passing by. Your front yard generally is more visible to those people than it is to you, and the hours you spend making it beautiful are sure to be appreciated.
We all know some spots that are enjoyable to look at all year around, from colorful bulbs, flowering shrubs, emerald green lawns, a succession of flowers all summer long, brilliant fall color and evergreens and berries in the winter.
Take a moment during this season to tell the gardeners how much you enjoy the fruits of their labor.
And finally I wish for you the optimism which is the trademark of the gardener. However beautiful your garden may be at a given time, there are always plans to make it just a little better. We look forward to more flowers, bigger trees, improved soil, some new hardscape, a hedge, a path - and those improvements are always just around the corner.
I appreciate those who read this column, and those who contact me with comments and questions. A very merry Christmas to all of you.