GardenSMART :: 5 No to Low Cost Gifts for Gardeners
5 No to Low Cost Gifts for Gardeners
By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners
Does the thought of holiday shopping make you want to pull the blanket over your head until January? Gift giving can be hard on the budget this time of year, but we've found five solutions under $30 that every gardener on your list will love. They're sure to put a little jingle back in your step. The trick is to start now so you won't be panicked come December.
Project: Give the gift of your gardening talent Cost: Free
What's Involved: The most valuable thing you can share with a loved one is the gift of your time. Put your gardening talents to use by gifting a few hours of your time to help someone clean up their garden, plan a new project or anything else of their choosing.
If you have a knack for combining colors, offer to help them choose a new color scheme for next year's container recipes. You'll find all the inspiration you need with this container recipe search tool. If a strong back is your best asset, offer to help transplant a shrub that has outgrown its space or plant a new tree in honor of someone special. They will be grateful for your gift of time and talent.
Project: Handcrafted Hydrangea Wreath Cost: Less than $10
What's Involved: This handcrafted hydrangea wreath requires only four things: your time, a 10-inch wire wreath form, paddle wire and dried hydrangea flowers. The greatest of these is your time, but you'll be surprised how quick this wreath is to create once you get started. Watch this quick DIY video or follow the four simple steps below.
Step 1: Start by picking and drying mophead or panicle hydrangea flowers from your garden. Choose flowers that are fully open and have begun to dry on the plant. Set the cut branches in a vase with 2 inches of water and leave them for a week or two until all the water has been absorbed.
Step 2: Trim the hydrangea stems down to a few inches, just long enough to attach them to the wire wreath form.
Step 3: Secure one end of the paddle wire to the form first, then wrap it around your first hydrangea stem tightly three times. Repeat with the rest of your hydrangea flowers until the form is full.
Step 4: When you reach the end, tie off the wire to the form. Lift the wreath up and shake it gently to catch any flowers that aren't well secured. Fill in gaps with more flowers until you are pleased with the result.
Dried hydrangea wreaths are the gifts that keep on giving. They should last 3-5 years when displayed in a dry spot indoors.
Project: Gold Leaf Terra Cotta Pots Cost: $25 for six 4-inch pots
What's Involved: Create your own designer pots using a few simple supplies and a little patience. This craft is best done with older children or adults since it requires a delicate hand. If you have Mod Podge on hand already, subtract $10 from the cost of the project. Note: These gold leaf pots are best used indoors where they will not be exposed to the elements.
Step 1: Gather your supplies. You'll need:
Six clean, dry, unglazed, 4-inch terra cotta pots like these
An 8 oz. jar of Mod Podge decoupage glue (preferably the Outdoor or Hard Coat formula)
Two small, soft paintbrushes
Step 2: Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the parts of the pot that will be covered with gold leaf. Create the modern distressed look you see here by spreading the Mod Podge irregularly or tape sections off with painter's tape to create a more geometric design. Let the Mod Podge dry until it is tacky to the touch.
Step 3: Very carefully, tear a sheet of gold leaf out of the package and attach it to a tacky part of the pot. Expect it to tear and look messy at first. You'll smooth it out in the next step. Repeat until your design is complete.
Step 4: Use a clean, soft paintbrush to gently brush over the gold leaf so it adheres fully to the terra cotta. The excess flakes will fall off leaving a smooth finish. Let it set for a day to dry before moving on to the last step.
Step 5: Seal the gold leaf with 1-2 more thin coats of Mod Podge to improve its water resistance. Allow your newly gilded pots to dry thoroughly for a few days before wrapping them up and gifting them to someone special.
Project: Painted Birdhouse Cost: Less than $25
What's Involved: Why spend $40 or more on a birdhouse when you can paint your own for less than $25 ($16 if you already have the paint)? Craft stores sell ready-to-paint wooden birdhouses in all different shapes and styles.
Step 1: Watch the quick DIY video on this page showing exactly how to complete the project. Then, gather your supplies: paint suitable for the outdoors, a wooden birdhouse, a 1.5-inch diameter wooden dowel and a 1.5-inch pipe strap with screws. Choose colors that the recipient of your gift will love or copy a look you see here.
Step 2: Time to get creative with paint!
Step 3: Mount the dry, painted birdhouse to the dowel using the pipe strap and you're done. Easy peasy.
Project: Give the gift of knowledge Cost: $30 for an autographed copy
What's Involved: Pick up an autographed copy of The Proven Winners Garden Book by accomplished authors Ruth Rogers Clausen and Thomas Christopher. Whether the person you're gifting it to is just starting out gardening or is an experienced gardener looking for new ideas, this book makes a thoughtful gift.
Just published this year, this 188-page, full color book includes step-by-step instructions on how to prepare a garden bed, tips on finding the right design for the space including 12 garden recipes, a primer on selecting the best plants, 25 container recipes and so much more. Winter is the perfect time to study up and plan for next season.