Your garden might be your pantry and your hobby, but it can also be a rich source of gifts to give to others. Delight your friends and relatives with your garden’s bounty with these gifts from the garden.
1. Freezer Jam
This is our staple winter season gift, but it’s perfect for gift-giving throughout the year. At berry time, freeze extra berries so that you can make small batches of jam. Find a mason jar with a pretty lid, and create your freezer jam using freezer jam pectin, sugar, and berries. Yes, it requires zero cooking and takes about ten minutes. Place it into the jars, and give it to your delighted friends who will enjoy the fresh fruit taste. Freezer jam lasts for about a week in the fridge or six months in the freezer, but they’ll likely eat it first.
2. Herbal Tea
This is the perfect summer or fall garden gift. Create a herbal tea! Mint is an excellent choice, as it grows in profusion and you’re sure to have enough of it to create as many teas as you wish. Dry the mint and place it in clean, dry containers. Add a tea ball or reusable tea bags to your package, and you have a lovely tea. Sage and other kitchen herbs such as rosemary and thyme also make wonderful savory teas, while lemon balm and lavender make strong sweet teas.
Gather ye rosebuds, so you can make potpourri! Collect and dry summer flowers such as roses, mint blossoms, Queen Anne’s lace, hydrangea, or lavender. Place them upside down to dry. When they’re perfectly dry, you can either arrange them in jars to create bowls of potpourri, or tuck them into sachets to create items that will tuck into a drawer or in a pillow. If you’d like to scent to stay longer and you’re placing them in sachets, use two tablespoons chopped orris root per quart of petals to help fix the scent. Of course, you can also add a drop or two of essential oil if the mixture doesn’t have enough scent on its own.
4. Infused Vinegar
One year, when my husband and I were both students, we had very little money for Christmas. I got some white vinegar and placed herbs and garlic in it to infuse their flavor throughout the vinegar, creating lovely infused vinegars. The result? Pretty, delicious, and very inexpensive. You can use mason jars tied with a bow and labelled with a homemade label, or you can use fancy or reused vinegar containers. Just make sure that any container is clean before you begin.
5. Willow Wreath
Wreathes are lovely in every season, and flexible willow branches make simple, gorgeous willow wreathes. Cut willow from a local tree, and attach the ends of several branches together with a piece of twine. Begin to weave them together, adding other willow branches as you go. Top it off with a ribbon wrapped around the wreath to keep the branches tucked in tight.
6. Acorn Ornaments
Ah, fall – it’s a nutty time, and if you live close to an oak tree, you’re in luck! Collect acorns and their caps for crafts throughout the year. One of our favorites hangs on our Christmas tree: a friend glued some wool roving into the base of an acorn cap, then felted a tiny woolen acorn that hangs inside. I’ve also used acorns as “babies” inside half of a walnut shell. Place the baby in the shell and cover it part way with a tiny piece of fabric, and you have a wee baby for a play house or ornament.
7. Forced Bulbs
These are tried, true, and beautiful winter or spring gifts. My favorite bulb to force is paperwhite narcissus. Place in a pot under lights or in a very bright window, and in a few weeks you’ll have a growing bulb that you’ve “forced” to grow out of season. Add a bow, and give it to your favorite sun-starved gardener. Other cold-season bulbs are a little more challenging to force, because they require a period of cold in your fridge or freezer before they begin to grow.
8. Fairy Garden Kit
This is one of my favorite gifts to give a small child. It’s simple: take an old garden pot, some potting soil, and some moss, and add tiny house plants or outdoor plants to create an indoor or outdoor fairy garden kit. If you have an abundant garden, you can collect everything from your garden and repackage it into a kit to create a garden for the fairies. I also add small stones, shiny marbles for fairy looking glasses, and a little bit of glitter – fairy dust, of course! Wrap it all up and label it with a homemade label for little gardeners.
9. Seed Packages
For those winter-bound gardeners or those with early spring birthdays, what could be better than a custom package of seeds? If you save seeds, share some of your favorites with your friends and relatives. Add growing instructions that work well for your area, and make sure that you slip in your favorite recipe!
10. Cuttings from Indoor Plants
If you’re an indoor gardener, you can still give gifts from your home garden. Do you have a friend who’s been wishing for some more indoor greenery? Take a cutting of your house plant, cutting it just below the place where the leaf and stem meet. Place it in water with rooting hormone or with the end of a willow branch, which also helps plants root. When the plant begins to grow roots, place it in a small pot with potting soil and let it establish before giving it to your friend. If you’re feeling inspired and have some time on your hands, you can also grow citrus and avocado house plants from seed!
What will you create and share from your garden this year?