Gardeners have great opportunities for a few quick, but not-so-dirty gifts from the garden. For many of us, something homegrown makes the most thoughtful and memorable gift.
For foodies, harvest sprigs of sage, thyme, parsley or other herbs from the garden for a bouquet garni. Tie together with a cotton string or tuck into a cotton bag. Attach the bouquet garni to a favorite soup or sauce recipe.
Enable the bird lovers on your list. Smear some pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed. Attach a bit of wire to hang the cones from a tree limb or birdfeeder. Freeze and place in a plastic bag. Pair with a book about birds or wildlife. Squirrels will like this pine cone treat, too.
Snip dried blooms from a smooth-leaf or panicle hydrangea. Add some evergreen boughs and tie with a colorful ribbon as a gift for the host or hostess. Spray paint the dried flowers red or gold for a bit of holiday color.
Gather seeds from your favorite annual or perennial. Provide planting instructions on an envelope decorated with a picture of the flower and place the seeds inside. Attach to a garden book or a magazine gift subscription. Or, make a gift certificate that promises a division of a perennial from your landscape. Add an image of the plant, instructions for car and a delivery date.
Cut a stem or two of lavender, dry the leaves and tuck them into an organza bag to make a sachet. Lavender adds a lovely scent to the car, linen closet or lingerie drawer. Dried rosemary leaves, rose petals, cloves, citrus peels or needles of pine or fir trees also make sweet thinking-of-you, happy-to-see-you or just-because sachets.
Busy families will put homemade jelly, canned tomatoes or other home-preserved foods to good use during the holidays. These foods are also welcome by friends and family who will be entertaining this time of year.
As we approach the time of the year for reflection, I want to thank you for reading my columns, sending comments and sharing the information. I would not be able to do this without you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!