Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Friday, November 26, 2010


There's no trick to buying a great gift if you have a hefty budget: a meaningful, practical and original book like "Edible Landscaping" by Rosalind Creasy; the perfect tool for your favorite gardener, like Fiskars long handle tree pruner; one of the composters from Gardener's Supply Co. But let's think long and hard about a great garden gift that costs nothing but ingenuity.

A favorite gift on the receiving end came some years ago when Ben & I first moved to our farm. Our family had decided that for our holiday gifts that year, it would have to be something you made, had in your possession already, or an IOU for a future service. I was about to start my new garden. Son Mike & daughter-in-law Em gave me a treasure map with clues. The whole party accompanied me to track down the gift secreted in the bottom of the barn: 5 big bags of well rotted horse manure.

If you have no horse manure some other ideas.
1.Do you have any compost you can share with a New Yorker who has treasured houseplants? Wrap and label it prettily, give it your brand name/logo, and you've given a treasure.
2. Take a cutting from a favorite houseplant, root it, plant it in one of those many extra pots you have, washed to be impeccably clean. Add a plant name, a little story about the plant, care instructions, and voila!3. Make a holiday wreath from greens that you prune from the garden. Add some natural decorations like cones, pods or bark, natural or sprayed gold or copper. Give in early December so your recipient can enjoy it for a long time.
4. A nicely printed gift certificate for several hours of weeding/and or pruning to a person who hates those chores. Or if you live close by, a visit or two of plant or garden care while the giftee goes on vacation.5. A favorite gift to give was a session of garden coaching, presented to a young couple, non-gardeners who had just moved into their first home. I gave them a gift certificate listing my services: two hours of on-site garden design, plant suggestions and gardening instruction.
6.What's your best idea for a no-cost garden gift? Betsy, are you reading? I hope you've been saving those tasty dried petals for me from your apothecary rose. I need them for a dessert I want to try.


meemsnyc said...

Those are all great ideas!

cindy said...

my mom in california had already emailed me this morning (before i'd even seen it) to say how much she loved this column. do you think she's hinting? =)

very happiest holidays to both of you!

Ellen Spector Platt said...

AMB sent me this note: Did my gift arrive? If you have many unopened packages,you can identify mine
by the smell. Ask your doorman if a pail of manure is downstairs waiting for you. I am sure he will be relieved when you claim it.Happy Chanukah!
And Betsy sent this:I loved the column. Don't worry, I have a little jar of Apothecary petals just for you. (ed. note: hinting really pays off)

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Cindy,hinting is good. Remember the theme, spend no money.
And the best to you also.

Garden Glamour said...

Garden gift ideas are "Priceless"

Shady Gardener said...

This is not zero cost, but I'm making some small gingerbread houses and will decorate with bird seed, etc.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Shady, Your houses are surely in the spirit of zero cost.

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