Gardeners can gather materials from their gardens to create one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations or special holiday gifts.Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
Birdhouse gourds need a long season to reach full size.Photo/Illustration: John Pendleton
Some of my favorite holiday gifts to give (as well as to receive) come from the garden. From fancy bottles filled with homegrown herb vinegars to packets of heirloom vegetable seeds, these homemade gifts are the ones I cherish the most.
Here are a few ideas for thrifty gifts from your garden:
Plant birdhouse gourds with presents in mind. For short season gardens, start seeds indoors and then transplant to the garden when the weather warms. Enjoy watching the gourds grow on long vines and then harvest when mature. Allow gourds to thoroughly dry, scrub off the outer skin and then paint each with its own personality.
Luffa gourds (sometimes called Loofa gourds) resemble long cucumbers growing on vines and are used as sponges for bathing. Plant seeds indoors, transplant to the garden and grow on sturdy trellises. Harvest when stems turn yellow and let the gourds dry for several weeks. Remove the seeds and peel the skin to reveal the gourd’s inner skeleton. Wrap in fancy tissue paper and give with an assortment of bath salts.
Select clear acrylic ornaments in a variety of shapes (available at craft stores) and fill with dried rose petals, lavender, other colorful dried flowers and seed heads. Attach colored ribbon for hanging.
Woven Wheat Decorations
Woven-wheat decorations have been around as long as people have been harvesting wheat. You can create simple decorations with handfuls of wheat by soaking the stalks in water before bending them into shapes like small wreathes or braids. The long flower stalks of some ornamental grasses can substitute for wheat stalks. Add ribbon or other fancy embellishments.
Painted Garden Tools
A child-size garden trowel makes a nice blank canvas for painting. Try your hand at a simple snowman, winter scene or a bright sunflower. Tools can be used to decorate the tree at Christmas or to hang on the garden shed.
Do you have a favorite gift from the garden? Please share your ideas here.
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