If you are looking for something unique to give this holiday season, I suggest a gift from my home state of Arkansas. From tasty treats to sweet smelling soaps there is something for everyone on your list.
Lambrecht Gourmet’s award winning Southern Pecan Toffee is made with roasted pecan halves, covered in rich butter toffee and drenched in imported, single origin milk chocolate. The resulting confection is a perfect balance of crisp, buttery toffee covered pecans and smooth milk chocolate. It’s a gift that will be well-received and quickly devoured!
Spice up someone’s life with a bag of this fiery snack mix made with pecans, cashews, almonds and other tasty morsels. Available is Spicy Original, Hot Chipotle and, my fav, Chocolate-Laced.
If you grew up in the South, chances are your family had a cast aluminum grill in the back yard. The “Portable Kitchen” is a classic cooker for a backyard barbeque. Durable and timeless, this grill will become a family heirloom that you pass down to your kids.
Aromatique is a premier potpourri and candle maker in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Founder Patti Upton and I go way back, further than I’d like to admit. I love this orange and evergreen scent for the holidays.
If there is someone on your list who is a fan of A Christmas Story, they’ll be sure to appreciate a Red Ryder BB gun. Just be sure the recipient heeds the film’s warning about shooting out an eye.
Are you an Arkansas craftsperson, grower or maker? I encourage you to join ARKANSAS GROWN to help get your product out in front of consumers. And if you are a shopper, look for the Arkansas Made logo to identify locally produced goods. Check them out at www.ArkansasGrown.org.
I’ve always loved the gift giving tradition of the holidays. We have a large family so we tend to stick to simple and thoughtful pieces, and one of my favorite gifts to give is coffee table books. They are elegant and cost-effective and with so many quality ones to choose from, you can really personalize this gift to the recipient. I’ve recently discovered two books written by dear friends that I can’t wait to wrap up and place beneath the tree, Empress of the Garden by G. Michael Shoup and Natural Companions, The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse.
Empress of the Garden
Text and Photographs by G. Michael Shoup
200 pages with color photographs
$39, available for purchase online or at the Antique Rose Emporium
Empress of the Garden tells the story of antique roses and is bold in every sense of the word. Behind its square cover lies an immense library of stunning photos and descriptions of the ancient roses that Shoup has spent the last 25 years breeding and researching. He identifies these roses under a variety of types of women like Drama Queens, Captive Spirits, Tenacious Tomboys and Big Hearted Homebodies and his brief but detailed description of each breed includes adjectives about each of their personalities. With his intimate knowledge of the history and lineage of these old garden roses, Shoup seems to have a personal relationship with each of them. Whether you’re looking for the perfect rose for your garden or simply looking to be inspired, this is a coffee table book deserving of the many fine adjectives that its author assigns to his roses.
Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Companions
By Ken Druse, Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp
250 pages with color photographs
$40, available for online purchase Amazon or Abram’s Books
Natural Companions is equally stunning, and where Empress focuses solely on roses, Natural Companions explores the entire plant kingdom. Garden writer Druse shares his immense horticulture knowledge to show recipes for the perfect plant pairing for every yard and experience level. His simple, streamlined style presents different ways to plan your garden to have diverse species that complement one another and bloom at the same time. From color to fragrance to type of plant, there is a how-to for every gardener. And even the blackest thumb can be inspired by the full-page images of gardens across America. This coffee table book is sure to capture the eye of gardeners and designers alike.