THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, consider gifting practical, homemade and consumable offerings that celebrate the garden and enrich everyday living: botanically inspiring, and possibly delicious, but still as practical as socks and underwear.
● Let’s start in the herb garden. Tie supple rosemary stems into small wreaths to adorn the holiday kitchen or create fragrant — and tasty — package toppers with bundles of lavender, thyme and sage. Soothe frayed nerves by packaging up dried mint or camomile in a Mason jar, or create homemade tea bags. Do you have teachers in your life? Whip up a fabric eye pillow, and fill it with rice and dried lavender for a dose of well-deserved calm.
● If you’re not the crafty sort, a promise note for a portion of next year’s (tomato/raspberry/fill-in-the-blank) harvest will make you a horticultural hero in your recipient’s eyes. Or make a certificate for a homegrown bouquet subscription — this is especially good for busy people and folks without their own growing space. Everyone needs more flowers in life.
● Tiny envelopes filled with seed saved from this year’s garden make delightful stocking stuffers — don’t forget to properly label and include growing instructions. Or wrap up a package of seeds — I’m thinking sweet peas might be lovely — with an offer to grow and deliver a flat of garden-ready seedlings at the proper planting time next spring.
Or, perhaps the practical sock is on the other foot, and you’re looking to delight the gardeners on your gift list. The following hardworking tools and accessories will be most welcome.
● Time at the end of a hose is a constant education. And, given our increasingly hot and drying climate, we gardeners are getting schooled. In addition to a quality water nozzle with a turnoff valve, a strong, rubber hose that resists kinking is worth the investment — choose from a variety of fashion-forward or garden-demure colors. A self-coiling hose is perfect for tending small-space balcony and patio container gardens.
● Aren’t there 12 days of Christmas, eight days of Hanukkah and seven days of Kwanzaa? You can’t go wrong with new gloves — putting on a fresh pair of dry gloves during the rainy season is such a treat. How about an IOU tool tuneup? Many nurseries and hardware stores offer tool-sharpening services for a modest fee.
● Harvesting baskets, garden trugs or simply serviceable buckets help gardeners keep those newly sharpened tools at hand during the busy planting season. Be it ever so humble, one of my favorite garden accessories is a sturdy 4-by-4-foot plastic tarp. Handles on opposite corners make cleanup a snap after a weeding session.
● Gardeners don’t let a little rain keep them out of the garden, so weatherproof footwear is invaluable. ROMA is committed to “giving poverty the boot” with a philanthropic buy-one-give-one model. For every pair of ROMA boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need. The durable boots are made of natural rubber with a comfy cotton insole and come in a variety of splashy colors that will light up dark days. Order online at romaboots.com, or look for the link in the website’s footer to locate local retailers.
● Finally, it’s time to start dreaming of spring. The Northwest Flower & Garden Festival is back! The show, which is scheduled to run Feb. 9-13 at the Washington State Convention Center, features remarkable display gardens, a tempting marketplace, and a rich schedule of seminars and demonstrations, all included in the price of admission. Advance tickets are available online and at local outlets. Visit gardenshow.com for details.