In the Garden:
Coastal and Tropical South
Amaryllis are truly gifts that keep on giving for years to come.
Gifts for Gardeners
It's especially rewarding to choose gifts for gardeners, since so many items will remind your gardening friends of your thoughtfulness for years to come.
Indoors and Out
Choose gifts for and from the garden that have multiple uses for multiple "happies." Put together a fat amaryllis bulb with some marble chips and a square pottery container. The lucky recipient can enjoy the flowers through the holidays, then plant the bulb outdoors and enjoy the container for another plant.
When you give a rake, add a collapsible garden sack and a pair of nice garden gloves. Or start with the gloves themselves, and slip them in a stocking with a gift certificate to a special garden shop.
You don't need a sackful of money to give stunning gifts from the garden. Plant a simple pot with lettuce now; by Christmas it will be a living mat, ready to be decorated with a ribbon and some berries clipped from a hedge.
Fill little jars with hot peppers and vinegar; after less than a month, it'll be spicy enough to surprise anyone. If you have a magnolia tree, you can easily make door swags that amaze those who don't have the southern classic within reach. Cut branches 1 and 2 feet long and wrap their cut ends with ribbon that has wire in its edges to make the job easy. Then take a long piece of ribbon and tie a fan of the magnolias together. Add a bow at the top and you're done. Or paint the leaves and seedpods gold (entirely or just some streaks) for pure drama.
Gardeners are the optimists of the world, always sure that the next tomato will be bigger, the next rose more fragrant. Give a gift that insures that future in the garden: a few hours of a teenager's time or a landscape service, or a membership in the local botanic garden or plant society for inspiration.
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