For those who, like me, slept in Black Friday and are missing the retail madness, the following are six of my favorite garden-related gift ideas:
1. A favorite garden book with either a plant stake or homemade bookmark. Ask the person getting the book for advice on a gardening book for a friend; then give them the one they recommend.
2. If you want a bigger gift, add a gift card that says this spring, I’ll buy you – maybe a plant someone admired, or a plant you think they would enjoy. The key is buying something that will be of interest to the person getting it. Get kids involved finding the plant picture in old magazines; include it on the homemade bookmark, or have them make the gift card that includes the plant picture. Better yet, have them draw the plant on a homemade card.
3. If you save seeds from your garden every year, make your own gift seed packets by putting seeds in plastic coin bags, then envelopes with a picture of the plant and instructions glued on the back. Handy way to recycle envelopes. One of the sweetest sets of garden seeds came from one of my nephews. It included his hand drawings of what he thought the flowers looked like. "Snapdragons” with fire coming out of their leaves was priceless!
4. One of the more interesting Christmas trees I have seen was one where one flower outline was blown up so kids could decorate them with paint, crayons, sequins, ribbons… no two looked exactly alike. Kids gave their decorated flower a unique name and wrote it on the ornament. These next two gift ideas are very easy. To make them special, pot the bulbs yourself and cut care instructions off the box they come in.
5. Paperwhite Narcissus. You usually see these offered with Amaryllis bulbs. If I’m going to give Paperwhite Narcissus, I buy them early and get them started. They can take a couple of weeks to start growing; approximately 3-4 weeks to be almost ready to bloom. Once in bloom, Paperwhites have a lovely scent. When spent, allow Paperwhite Narcissus leaves to yellow and die back. In spring, plant the bulbs in the garden and, in a couple of years, the bulbs will bloom again. Don't try to repot Paperwhites; they won't bloom again.
6. Amaryllis bulbs. You can usually find these next to Paperwhite Narcissus, also in colorful boxes with a pot and dehydrated potting soil. Over the years, friends have loved getting these, especially if I have planted them and included care instructions. Amaryllis may sit in the pot for several days without doing anything, then the green tip will peek out of the center. I usually add a stake and plant ties so as the plant grows – sometimes an inch a day – it can easily be tied up. Part of the fun is watching it grow so give it after it's been potted. The flowers are stunning and, with a little after care, you can keep these bulbs inside in pots re-blooming for years.
Page 2 of 2 - Charlotte Ekker Wiggins shares her garden-inspired gift ideas at http://www.gardeningcharlotte.com. Copyright 2012 used with permission by Gatehouse Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Contact Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org.