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  • Cindy Dole

Gifts from the garden

When you grow plants and enjoy a garden, you’re not the only one who benefits. So do your friends and family, because the next time you need a great gift to give, you’re covered, and so are the people in your life. It can be anything you are growing: herbs, bulbs, edibles, seeds, succulents, plant cuttings, and more for your creations that go from garden to good deed.

Here are 10 ideas for clever, thoughtful and homespun gifts from the garden for any occasion.


Apothecary jars are ideal for this because they are beautiful and have the height and depth you need for the drainage layers, the key to terrarium success. Fish bowls or slant cut bowls are also great. Whatever you choose, make sure the vessel is wide enough at the top for your arm to fit inside, the wider the better, to create and care for this mini garden.

Succulents or shade loving ferns and even flowering ground covers are terrific plant choices. Just split them from your garden and set aside. The drainage layers and soil will be different, depending on the type of terrarium you make. Either way, I like to put an extra layer of pretty pebbles at the bottom which keeps it looking neater over time with watering. Besides keeping the terrarium healthy without a drainage hole, the layers make your gift look like a trifle dessert.

You can give your terrarium some personality adding figurines like a tiny angel, gnome, character or animal figures, or keep it natural with shells, recycled glass, wood and small rocks.

Succulent terrarium layering:

  • Pretty pebbles

  • Ground seashells (This is the prettiest by far although pea gravel or kitty litter work too )

  • Layer of fine decorative sand. (White looks good, or pick a couple of colors)

  • Succulent soil ( About an inch is all. Don’t use potting soil for succulents)

  • Succulents

  • Ground seashells

  • Top with more sand, or decorative stones, recycled glass

Shade type plant terrarium layering:

  • Pretty pebbles

  • Activated charcoal

  • Pea gravel ( You can use seashells, just this isn’t as visible in this arrangement)

  • Moss ( Stops the soil from leaking when you water)

  • Potting soil

  • Plants

  • More Moss

  • Decorative rocks pebbles

Succulents in anything

The idea here is to share some succulent love from your garden to your loved one’s using a variety of pots that have a drainage hole and will grow outside. This means succulents that prefer more sun, or just a little and some fresh air, so they just may flower as well. A fun choice is to plant succulents in a concrete clam shell. It plays up the under-the-sea look of succulents.

Consider a succulent hanging basket, with plants that cascade over the basket. What’s great about succulents is you can break off new shoots, or “pups” to start a whole new plant very easily and they will thrive. Because they don’t require the deep soil like others, the options for containers are endless. Even the tray of a pot, for a succulent “dish” looks beautiful. Just make sure if there isn’t a drainage hole to provide the drainage stone layers and always succulent or cactus soil.

Herbal sleep pouches - sachets

If you’re growing lavender, this is a great way to give the gift of a fragrant drawer or a good night’s sleep under a pillow. Cut branches when your lavender is in bloom and hang them in a warm spot for a few days. When they are dry, remove the flowers from the stems. Put them in a dish to dry for a few days. Then store your lavender in a Mason jar, or plastic baggie until you are ready to make your gift. For the sachet, find sheer fabric and attach with fabric adhesive or you can buy delicate bags and ribbon in the bridal section of craft stores.

Herb infused oils

Flavored oils are delicious for cooking anything or adding to a tossed salad. It’s the perfect gift for the foodie in your life. Get herbs from your garden and dry them out. You can save what is not used for either another gift, or maybe for yourself.

Find a pretty clear glass bottle with a secure lid. Sterilize it in the dishwasher. Once the bottle is completely dry, stuff a couple of herb sprigs inside. Try rosemary and thyme for a classic versatile oil. A safety note, it’s important that water never gets into your oil bottle, no water on the herbs, because then it becomes a bacteria breeding ground. Heat your olive oil on low for just a minute or two. Pour the warm oil into the jar over the herbs and let it cool.

Cuttings from Easter Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Jade plant

These are so easy to propagate and if your plant was passed down to you from family, the legacy makes it even more meaningful. Take a few four-inch cuttings and put into a container with drainage holes and potting mix. You may want to decorate the pot first with spray paint and wrap with a burlap ribbon. Chalk paint is always festive because you can write a message on the container.

Homemade Potpourri

Making your own potpourri is really simple and a wonderful way to share the beauty and fragrance of your own personal garden. This gift project screams rose petals, although you can also try lavender, geranium leaves, and broom flowers. Mix in some of your citrus, like orange or lemon peels you soak in lemon oil first. Add in whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, all spice and a little nutmeg. Top it off with tiny splash of rose oil and lavender oil. Air-dry all of your ingredients until crispy. Yum, you have a beautiful dried garden fragrance that will be enjoyed for months and months. Consider also giving a bottle of lavender, rose or cinnamon oil with the potpourri for the recipient to add throughout the year.

Tea cup fairy garden

Fairy gardens are all the rage. Use a sweet teacup that you may have, or find at an antique or yard sale as your container. Since this is so tiny, and has no drainage hole, you’ll need a single layer of small pebbles, followed by succulent or cactus soil. Take a few cuttings from your succulents, and plant them in the cup. Top with small pretty rocks, or recycled glass, and a few miniature garden figurines from craft or hobby stores, even independent nurseries. Look for little mushrooms, fairies, small furniture, whatever looks magical.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

Give the gift of spring in the fall. Use your stored tulip and daffodil bulbs that didn’t get planted in the fall. Fill a pot that has a drainage hole with potting soil and several bulbs. Water thoroughly. Add a note of instructions that the bulbs must stay in the refrigerator for 15 weeks to start the blooming process. Then the flowers should be moved to a sunny spot and water when the soil is slightly dry.

Package Your Flower and Veggie Seeds

Collecting seeds from favorite flowers and veggies is the gift that gardening keeps on giving. You can package them to share in small gift card envelopes or an airtight container. Etsy is an awesome resource for downloading vintage garden labels, postcards and art to personalize your seed packages. A pretty postcard would be perfect for the planting and care instructions. And download a photo of the plant for the package as well.

DIY Seed bombs

They’re not especially pretty, but the end result is an explosion of color and beauty for that empty garden space. Take saved seeds from your flowers, or share a package of wildflower seeds and soak them overnight in compost tea, found at garden centers. Mix one part seeds with two parts loam or clay soil to make golf-sized balls. Add enough water so the ball feels like cookie dough. An empty egg carton is ideal size for the balls to dry in overnight. Package them in a gift bag with instructions to plant one seed bomb every few feet.

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