Simple Gifts from the Garden

I’m excited to guest host #GardenChat tonight. It’s a weekly Twitter based “party” where gardeners from across the country get together to talk about gardening and whatever else is on our minds. It’s a great way to make friends and learn something you might not know about the garden.If you want to join me on #GardenChat it starts at 9 p.m. EST. Click here for the what fors and how tos.

#GardenChat is how I met Bren who coordinates the event and writes the blog BGGarden. She has contributed this week’s guest post. Everyone give her a big welcome to my blog!

If you are like many Americans, you will be watching A Charlie Brown Christmas during your Thanksgiving evening turkey sandwich snack.  What would the holidays be without a glimpse of the past when having a puny little tree reflected the true meaning behind Christmas?  This classic cartoon captures wonderful morals filled with the basic principle of making the most of what you have.  When I think simple, I can’t help but think of using items that make up my garden each year.


A wonderful tradition enjoyed by my family is to use treasures from the garden on our Christmas tree: Simple projects that include the children, like drying blooms from our favorite hydrangea shrub; Preserving memories while teaching the children that gardening is more then just enjoyment in the summer months but something that can be carried on into the next growing season. Drying hydrangeas for the Christmas tree is super easy if you remember that you will get the best results by cutting 12″ stems during the months of August through October.  Cutting fresh, recently opened blooms does not dry well in the open air.  Letting the blooms hang in a dry area for a few weeks teaches the children patience and that good things come to those who wait.   Basic craft projects like this will yield the benefits of expressing your creativity without spending a lot of money.


Think beyond what you’ve grown and preserved by using clean hand tools and miniature birdhouses in the decorating.   Pulling items you use in the garden make a wonderful natural garden theme on a low budget.  I can’t explain the visual sensation experienced when seeing my favorite vacant birdhouse with the Christmas lights sparkling around it.  You can also use burlap that is commonly used to wrap young shrubs in the garden as a tree skirt to complete the garden themed tree.


It seems that the true significance of the holidays has been lost in our society, having been cluttered by the average person’s busy schedule.   If time is budgeted, you can save money while attaching new memories to this time of year by making use of what you have – from the garden.


13 Responses to Simple Gifts from the Garden

  1. Jeavonna Chapman says:

    People tend to go overboard during this season. That’s okay, but pick your battles. Pine cones are everywhere. Pick up a few and put them in a basket. Put a red bow on the basket. Very simple. Keep it simple whenever you can. Happy holidays.

  2. Though our family tends to purchase lots of gifts…I still do try to do some fun homemade ones. For my mom I’ll be making a ‘custom’ vase and filling with my dried hydrangeas (which she loves).

  3. Wonderful share on simple family traditions, I hope this post will inspire others to start their own and or blog about theirs! Fill your home with the scent of the season with Applesauce and Cinnamon cookie cutter ornaments…So easy to make

  4. Nice post, Bren, about getting back to simpler times at Christmas. The garden does provide wonderful opportunities for homemade gifts. Mason jars of preserves or sauces from your Summer’s bounty are treats in Wintertime. I like to share with Citrus fruit baskets~

  5. Bren says:

    I’m honored to be featured on P.Allen Smiths Blog today during such a wonderful time of the year. Thank you for being a part of the growing community on Twitter by supporting #gardenchat Allen. I’m totally looking forward to watching your garden grow in 2012!

  6. Tootsie says:

    great ideas for the tree Bren!!! I love making my own ornaments for my christmas celebrations too!

  7. Tammy Curry says:

    Bren, you are so on target! We should really get back to old fashioned values and go with homemade gifts for the holidays. I think that is something we are going to strive for in the coming year. Not just for the holidays but for other celebrations as well. Gifts from the heart and earth are treasures!

  8. Susan Hemann says:

    Great post Bren. You do such a great job with gardenchat. Looki g coward to tonight!!

  9. Kerrie says:

    Great ideas, Bren!! Looking forward to #gardenchat tonight!

  10. Teresa says:

    Love this post! Makes me remember all the fun we had as a family adding dried yarrow, hydrangea and other flowers as well as red twig dogwood and white pine branches from our garden to our Christmas decorations through the years. My kids tell me those are special memories for them too.

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