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Weekly Video Tip: Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

Here are a few mailorder gifts we showcased today for NBC News: http://www.wcsh6.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=689079065001#/Local/mail%2Dorder+gifts+for+gardeners/49383985001/49452227001/689079065001

Here is a list of what we talked about, with a focus on giving that is good for the environment:

HOLIDAY LIGHTING GOES SOLAR
The festive look of holiday strand lighting is now possible without power outlets and ugly electric cords. Solar Light Strands use ultra-efficient LED lights, not old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. LED Solar Light Strands save energy because they are powered by the sun. They offer lots of design options, such as lighting up a tree that is hundreds of feet from the nearest electrical outlet. LED Solar Light Strands come in two lengths, 50 or 102 bright LEDS. Each strand has seven (7) different blinking settings. These lights are attractive enough to leave them up all year for patio and deck accents. Available in white, red, blue and green. The 50-light strand sells for $24.95 and the 102 light strand sells for $49.95 at www.naturehills.com.

CHRISTMAS TREE PRESERVATIVE
The beauty and aroma of a real Christmas tree still cannot be matched by artificial trees. Unfortunately, a fresh tree can require daily watering or it will dry out quickly inside a heated home. With just one application, a new product called Vacation will keep a Christmas tree fresh throughout the holiday season. Simply mix one 8-oz. bottle of Vacation with one gallon of water and pour the solution into the tree stand reservoir. Once the solution is absorbed through the trunk, Vacation will keep the tree green with less needle drop for up to three to four weeks. (Vacation can also be used on poinsettias and other potted plants.) An 8-ounce bottle of vacation sells for about $14 at garden centers, hardware stores or online at www.naturehills.com and www.highcountrygardens.com.

WATCH LIFE IN “FAST FORWARD”
Want to watch a snowman melt in a matter of seconds? How about making a fast-forward video of the family putting up and taking down the Christmas tree? Anyone interested in creating time-lapse videos will love the easy-to-use Timelapse PlantCam, which can be used to record any kind of event. To create a timelapse movie, simply set the camera to take still photos at the desired time interval (every 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes,…up to one photo per day). After counting down each interval, the PlantCam will automatically take a photo and then start another countdown interval. When finished taking photos in timelapse mode, the PlantCam will automatically convert all of the photos into a video clip that will play the recorded event in “fast forward.” In the spring, put the PlantCam in the garden to make fast-forward videos of plants growing and blooming. Timelapse PlantCam takes high resolution (4 megapixel) images for crystal-clear viewing. Setup takes just three minutes, and no tools, software or wiring is needed. The rugged, weatherproof design makes it sturdy enough for year-round use. Timelapse PlantCam makes a great gift for $79.95 at (888) 811-9464 and www.wingscapes.com.

GROWING FOOD MADE EASY
The Organic Ready-to-Grow Kit from EarthBox is the perfect gift for a beginning gardener with a sunny patio and for the “master gardener” who is willing to try something different. The EarthBox controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden—while using less water and less fertilizer. The Organic Ready-to-Grow Kit contains everything needed to grow organic vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Included are organic OMRI Registered potting mix, organic OMRI Registered fertilizer and organic OMRI Registered dolomite with trace elements. The heart of the system is the patented EarthBox growing container, which measures a compact 29 inches long, 13.5 inches wide and 11 inches tall. The EarthBox even comes with casters (so it can be easily moved) and a water-conserving soil cover. The Organic Ready-to-Grow Kit is available for $59.95 from www.naturehills.com and www.earthbox.com.

SOLAR-POWERED WIND CHIMES. REALLY.
Imagine a delightful concert of wind chimes during the day and a colorful light show at night. The new Color Changing Solar Wind Chime gently plays pleasant notes when blown by a breeze, and it lights up in seven changing colors at night. Four solar panels provide power for an LED light contained inside a beautiful crackled texture glass sphere. (Not electric outlet is needed.) At night, the LED light progresses through seven colors, one color every three seconds, and its light is refracted through the glass, creating star-like patterns on walls and floors. The central sphere of the Color-Changing Solar Wind Chime acts as a striker for the five chimes that hang from the canopy, producing a gentle cascade of tones in breezes. The copper-colored finish gives this wind chime a lovely appearance. (The Color-Changing Solar Wind Chime is also available in a silver finish.) $44.95 from www.naturehills.com.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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