In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
December, 2012
Regional Report

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Give a budding green thumb a gift loaded with personal touches.

Crafty Gifts For Green Thumbs

Most of nature may be taking a rest, but there still are many plants in the garden that, even when not in active growth, imbue the landscape with visual interest, texture, and color. As the holiday season approaches, you can borrow some of that garden finery to craft a natural arrangement for a holiday table or to make a gift to share that celebrates the season. You might even be inspired to add more colorful fall and winter plants to your garden next season to expand your garden craft horizons.

Garden Inspiration
Look around your garden and you're bound to find all sorts of natural materials that are ideal for creating a fall or winter themed arrangement. Among my favorites are evergreen cuttings from concolor fir, pinyon pine, yew, cedar, and arborvitae. Milkweed pods, dried sedum and globe thistle flower heads, rose hips, pinecones dangling from branches, and assorted ornamental grass plumes create additional texture and interest. Don't forget the colorful stems of red and yellow twig dogwood and or lichen-covered twigs with their subtle shades of green and gray.

Fruit-bearing branches of yellow-orange bittersweet, red-berried holly, orange pyracantha, and white snowberry make wonderful cuttings for seasonal arrangements. Other natural materials of the season include Christmas fern, colorful ornamental cabbage and kale leaves, dried seed heads of ornamental onion (Allium) and love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), and barrel-shaped poppy seed pods.

Artful Arrangements
To create freeform seasonal arrangements, start with a sturdy vase into which you've placed a small piece of chicken wire or floral oasis foam to support the heavier stems. Begin by creating a framework of fresh-cut evergreen stems. Then fill in with your choice of natural materials. What could be simpler?

Unique Garden Gifts
You can also craft a garden gift with a personal touch. I like to select unique containers or paint clay pots with a glossy acrylic paint. Use patterned stencils or sponge prints for more decorative appeal. Children can personalize pots with their fingerprints. Fill the pot with seed packets of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Add a regional garden book, pruners with scabbard, rain gauge, and plant labels. For the bird feeding enthusiast, stuff a pot with bird treats.

These homemade gifts will boost spirits well into a new garden season and celebrate a favorite pastime.


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