Gardening with Laurie: Do your Christmas shopping in the garden

By Laurie Garretson
Nov. 14, 2013 at 5:14 a.m.

Laurie Garretson

Laurie Garretson

Holiday gift giving can become less stressful for us gardeners if we just visit our gardens with giving in mind. What could be more special than to receive a gift of nature? Anyone from ages 4 to 100 would enjoy getting something specifically for them from your garden.

With not much time left to decide what you might want to give as gifts, now is the time to get out in the yard and see what you have to choose from. Let your imagination flow. What only looks like a plant that needs to be deadheaded, could become a homemade seed packet or a bag full of seeds.

Many of us organic gardeners do enjoy saving our seeds. Whether dill, basil, tomatoes, okra, zinnia, marigolds or petunia seeds, any of these could be dried, packaged and placed in holiday cards, used as stocking stuffers or just given as gifts. Other gardeners would really appreciate this type of gift.

If you grow any herbs in your landscape, check them out as possible gift material. Herbs can really make great gifts for anyone who enjoys cooking. Try drying and then crushing several different varieties together to make your own special blends.

Examples are dried basil and dried marjoram or your own blend for Herbs de Provence using dried thyme, lavender, bay marjoram, basil and rosemary. Use small glass containers to store your blends in. Just add a label and bow and it's good to go.

Pass-along plants are one of my favorite garden gifts. Any plant that is special to you would be a very nice gift to pass along to someone. Try starting a tradition in your family of passing along some certain plant to a friend or other family members.

How about a particular day lily you're fond of or a certain delicious fig variety you grow? Keeping part of a plant going from one generation to the next is such a nice way of preserving a history.

If you have access to pine cones, here is another way to make inexpensive garden gifts. Place several pine cones in a lunch-sized paper bag along with some nutmeg and cloves. Fold down the top of the bag and punch a couple of holes in it to pull a string through.

Tie a 4- to 5-inch piece of rosemary in the tied string and you have made a fireplace sachet bag. This blend will provide a very festive scent when tossed in to a burning fire pit or fireplace.

Something as easy as a basket or bag full of organic homegrown citrus or vegetables would surely please anyone on your list. Or how about a basket of fresh free-range chicken eggs? Toss in a couple of tree ornaments or candy canes to really make the basket festive.

Last, but definitely not least, there are endless ways to pickle or can all types of produce that you personally grow or that you purchased. Check out our farmers market for produce if you need a source.

I hope these few suggestions help you to let nature take some of the stress off you this busy season.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.



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