A creative gardener knows that as long as you have a garden, you don’t need to spend a lot of time shopping for gifts. The garden can be a wonderful source for all sorts of homemade gifts that are suitable for any occasion. Even if the recipient is not a gardener, they will still be pleased to receive homemade gifts from your garden.
If you happen to save flower or vegetable seeds from your own garden, packets of these seeds make wonderful homemade gifts for either experienced or wannabe gardeners. Depending on the occasion, the seed packet gift can be embellished by wrapping the packets together with a ribbon inside a small terra cotta pot alongside a trowel or pruners, or including them in a basket along with a spray bottle and a recipe for insecticidal soap.
Someone who loves to cook would enjoy homemade gifts of dried herbs from your garden. Tie bundles of dried herbs with string, then dress up each bundle with a bit of pretty ribbon. Present the herbs in a basket, mixing bowl or coffee mug along with some favorite recipes that use the specific herbs you are giving.
Herbed butters also make lovely homemade gifts for anyone who likes to cook. Herbed butters are incredibly simple to make. Simply soften a pound of butter at room temperature, chop up some fresh herbs and mix thoroughly with the softened butter. Thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, chives or basil are ideal for making herbed butter, but you can have some tasty fun by experimenting with your own favorite herbs. After mixing the herbs with the butter, spread the mixture onto waxed paper and roll it tightly into logs, then keep it refrigerated. Make herbed butter at least a week prior to giving it as a gift to allow the flavor to permeate the butter. Herbed butter can be made with fresh herbs over the summer, then stored in the freezer until Christmas.
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To make herbed butter extra special, use high quality European butter. And like the other homemade gifts here, present it in a pretty package, perhaps along with appropriate recipes. A pat of herbed butter is a delicious adornment to a grilled steak or even humble mashed potatoes.
Herbed salt also makes desirable homemade gifts for the recipient who likes to cook. To make herbed salt, begin with fresh herbs and high quality sea salt. Layer fresh herb leaves in the sea salt and store it in airtight containers. Remove the herb leaves once they have dried and the salt has absorbed their flavor. Present the herbed salt in well-labeled decorative jars.
A fellow gardener would enjoy receiving homemade gifts of rooted cuttings from the plants in your garden. If a friend has admired a particular shrub in your landscape, you can easily root a cutting and present it in a decorative pot. All sorts of shrubs can be rooted from cuttings in the late spring through summer, and most will have time to root well and grow a bit in time for planting in the fall or the following spring. You can learn how to build and use your own homemade plant propagation system here: http://freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Cut flowers, either fresh or dried, always make welcome gifts. If you grow flowers for bouquets for your own enjoyment, certainly your friends would appreciate receiving lovely bouquets as homemade gifts also. Some flowers dry well while still preserving their color, while others fade a bit and acquire an antique look. Consider collecting extras and putting them aside to give as gifts later on. Big, bold hydrangea blossoms dry particularly well and make outstanding bouquets. The key to successfully drying hydrangeas is to cut them at the right time.
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Unfortunately, it’s difficult to dry hydrangea blooms that have been cut at their peak of color. For best results, allow the blossoms to dry somewhat on the plant before cutting them. Even the white hydrangeas will turn colors as they age, and most commonly they will turn slightly green, but some also turn light pink or even burgundy. The best time to harvest the blooms for drying is after they begin to change color and dry a bit in late summer to early fall.
After collecting the blooms, they can be placed in a dry, airy room out of direct sunlight until fully dried. They may be left standing in a dry vase or hung upside down. Either method works well. The method used to dry them isn’t nearly as important as the timing for gathering the blooms.
Anyone who enjoys watching and feeding birds will appreciate receiving homemade gifts of birdhouses made from dried gourds. Birdhouse gourds are easy to grow and they can be fun to decorate and personalize for the recipient. This article explains how to dry and cut gourds for birdhouses or other decorations: http://freeplants.com/gourds.htm
The ladies on your gift list might appreciate receiving homemade gifts of a body scrub made with herbs or flowers from your garden. Sea salt or raw sugar can be infused with the delicate scent of herbs or rose petals and presented in a decorative jar.
To make an infused scrub, mix together a half cup of fine oil, such as almond or grapeseed oil, with one cup of fine sea salt or raw sugar that you have have already infused with herbs or rose petals. Mix well and store in tightly sealed jars, and transfer to decorative jars for a pretty presentation.
Homemade gifts may be simple, but they are always appreciated because they are made and given with love.