In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
December, 2012
Regional Report

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Pot up a collection of succulents that the recipient has admired for a unique gift.

Giving From the Garden

Garden books and calendars are proven winners in gifting at this time of year. But, what could be more delightful than providing something from your garden that bespeaks you and your passion more individually and personally?

Perhaps you canned some tomatoes or pickles or made some jam from your summer garden's bounty, or dried some fruit leather, or made a wreath of dried apple slices or a door swag of rosemary in bloom. All of these homemade-from-my-garden treats are wonderful personal gifts to friends and family that will be treasured by their recipients. You're limited only by your imagination and what's available in your garden and at local farmers' markets! The great fun is in the creating! Here are some possibilities for you to play with.

  • Some Classics
    String popcorn alternately with pyracantha berries. Push whole cloves into oranges, and hang with real ribbon. Tuck colorful rose hips, eucalyptus pods, pine cones, acorns, and magnolia leaf clusters into green wreaths. Twist vines from grapes, honeysuckle, wisteria, willow, or ivy into wreath bases. Create wreaths of Bufford's holly, which grows better here than the traditional variety and gives us similar "stickery-leafed" green with red berries.

  • Herbs
    Herbs can cover all the bases -- trimming yule logs, flavoring jelly and vinegar, providing fragrance to clusters of twigs or wreaths, and perfuming the air in stovetop potpourris.

  • Succulent Wreath or "Picture"
    Tuck rooted pieces of small-size succulents into a wreath base for a living wreath, or create a living "picture" using a picture frame backed with hardware cloth, then filled with peatmoss and planted with succulent cuttings.

  • Make a Creative Container
    Circle a garden hose around an attractive container, anchoring the turns with twist-ties, then set a potted plant or a filled harvest basket in the center.

  • Gifts Straight From the Garden
    Arrange a "bouquet" of freshly-picked chard, kale, lettuce, spinach, and other greens in a pretty vase. Give a collection of rooted cuttings of succulents that the recipient has admired so they can grow their own.

  • A Gift Certificate
    Provide a gift certificate of your garden knowledge or brawn -- perhaps a consultation to redesign a space in the garden using drought-tolerant California native plants, or the labor to build a raised bed or trellis.

Care to share your gardening thoughts, insights, triumphs, or disappointments with your fellow gardening enthusiasts? Join the lively discussions on our FaceBook page and receive free daily tips!

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