Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
December, 2012
Regional Report

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Canned delicacies from your garden are always welcome gifts.

Giving From the Garden

It's definitely the season for gift-giving, and what gardener doesn't love to give of themselves? There are countless gifts for gardening and non-gardening friends that either come from the garden or remind one of the gardening season. Even if the budget is tight, all it may take for inspiration is a walk outdoors.

Seed Head Wreath
This time of year there are ample dried seed heads in the garden and fields. These can range from purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans to leeks and onions. Milkweed pods, hydrangea trusses, and the seed heads of grasses, sunflowers, and sedum all create beautiful wreaths. Simply purchase an inexpensive grapevine wreath (or make your own) and glue the pods and seed heads and maybe a few pine cones in place. Add a few silvery Christmas balls and you have a work of art you will be proud to give.

Scents of the Holidays
Visit your local hobby store for a clear glass globe or rectangular vase. Fill it with snipped lavender, sage, thyme (which should all still be available in the garden). Add some sprigs of arborvitae, rosemary, or balsam fir to make a deliciously scented potpourri. Sprinkle in a few tiny red and silver beads for a festive look.

Basket of Squash
All gardeners can use more baskets, so pick a sturdy one and fill it with acorn, butternut and delicata squash from your garden or the farmers' market. Tuck in a few recipes for preparing the squash, and adorn the handle with a Christmas bow.

Blooming Windowsills
Fill an attractive casserole dish with miniature pots of blooming plants for the windowsill. A trip to the garden center greenhouse will provide inexpensive miniature African violets, miniature cyclamen, small Christmas cactuses, blooming cactuses, streptocarpus, begonias, and kalanchoe. Tie it up with a festive ribbon and present to your favorite gardener.

Gift Wrapping
Wrap gifts in plain brown paper and tie with colored raffia. Add clusters of small pine cones, acorns, or hickory nuts with a glue gun for a natural look. Or use simple white paper, tie with your choice of ribbon, and tuck lavender or rosemary sprigs into the bow for a fragrant, elegant gift.


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