- Author: Margaret J O'Neill
I think many of us feel like our gardens themselves are gifts. We give our time to create spaces that are gifts to nature (pollinators, beneficial insects and an assortment of other critters) and to our neighborhoods and families, and if we are lucky, we can even eat and harvest flowers from them for us to enjoy indoors and with friends and family as well. I like to view gardening as a two-way street and see it as more of a journey than a destination. We give our love, our time, our sweat and tears….and our back muscles and money, all to create life around us. We can do it in our “back 40,” at a community garden plat, on our patios, on our windowsills and even in water (with fish) if we grow with hydroponics (or aquaponics!). With all we give to our gardens I think our gardens give back to us tenfold. When we are stressed or feeling overwhelmed the garden is a safe place that does not judge. When we are enduring loss and hardship, we can cry our tears and feel our sorrows in the garden, and in return it can give us solace. The garden reminds us that life goes on, as hard as it seems sometimes, no matter what else is happening…nature just keeps on going….and in that we can find strength. In my garden I find history: plants planted by loved ones that are still here, but we can't be together this holiday season, and plants planted by people that are no longer here. I find the future: what can I fit in my yard next? Perhaps a fruit tree would be great there? Where should I put my food forest for 2021? I find hope: wow, that seed really did grow, and look at it now! Or, oh wow, I remember when that tree was just a few feet tall and now look at then shade and fruit it gives.
If you grow fruits, vegetables, or herbs you probably have already shared gifts from your garden and know all about how rewarding that can be. If you are a new gardener, just wait! It is a challenge, but in a good way, and the Master Gardeners will be here for you throughout your journey, offering free classes on growing food, creating sustainable landscapes and how to just live better, healthier lives, though gardening. We also have our helpline, where you can contact us day or night (but we will call or email you back at a reasonable hour, after we have done some research), with all of your gardening questions and woes. You can even reach out if you just want to share a great success you had (you could even send us photos)!
Here are a few other ideas for gifts from your garden that you can try this holiday season to share your gardens gifts with your friends and families:
2) Three-tiered herb gardens: one of my favorite things to make! Fun fun fun and they are a great way to keep your herbs near your kitchen and healthy and happy! These towers can be made on a small scale as gifts or on a larger scale for your yard (or for gifts that you need to make on site!). The cool thing about these towers are that they will have a drier zone on top for your herbs that need a drier soil, and for the herbs that need a little more moisture they are wetter on the bottom. Also because of their height you can get a little extra shade or sun for your herbs on certain sides depending on how you orient them. Lastly, because they have an “inner core” of soil, they are great insulators that help keep plants cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I can fit between 8 and 12 types of herbs in my towers and they all do great!
My wish to you, for this holiday season, is that you find joy and peace and if you can find a little time to garden too, that just makes the holiday season extra sweet.