The gift-giving season can be stressful. This year resolve to make gifts greener. Reusable jars are great for food gifts, soaps, and socks. Brown paper bags decorated by the kids are precious and memorable wrapping. E-cards are lovely, easy, and produce no paper waste. Pass-along plants are perfect gifts.
However, my favorite green gifting comes from the garden. Great gifts from your garden include rooted and potted cuttings of pass-along plants that have been in the family for generations. Also, preserves from the veggie garden’s bounty, herbed vinegar, or a potted plant are gifts that reflect you. Divisions of your favorite plant, a gift certificate for a glass of wine, and an afternoon stroll in your garden with you are gifts of time and connection.
Pass-along plants, a wonderful southern tradition, are those plants from gardeners that are hard to find in the nursery trade or a gardener’s favorite. They include heirloom plants, vegetable and flowering, divisions of perennials such as bromeliads, and rooted cuttings of rare and unusual plants.
There is time as late as mid-December to take a few cuttings, divide an orchid, or pot a division of a beautiful tropical bamboo as gifts for a friend or colleague. A little time before gifting in the new pot or container for the plant to adjust and root is good to make sure it is healthy. Add a recycled bow and a link to or email with instructions for care (no printing required), and the gift is ready. One precaution, be sure the intended gifted plant is not a garden thug, such as an invasive plant like a seedling Carrotwood tree or the pretty but aggressive Starburst Clerodendrum.
In addition to the pass-along plant, decorate the gift. Install the cutting, division, or sucker into a recycled pot. Terra cotta pots are lovely; even old plastic tubs can be spruced up with a decorative sleeve, burlap, or a cover of recycled wrapping paper.
Some of my favored pass-along plants include Pinecone ginger or Zingiber zerumbet, which is used to provide a tropical effect in shady locations, borders, and meditation gardens. Hot peppers for spicy food enthusiasts, orchids, particularly Reed-Stem Orchids, Passionflowers, Crinum lilies, and Four O’Clocks with the lovely afternoon fragrance. Pass-along plants are perfect gifts.
The most thoughtful presents fulfill a need or desire of the recipient and bring a sense of satisfaction to the giver. Gifts from the garden are fascinating and full of the promise of life and green, growing things.
This article first appeared in the Treasure Coast Newspapers.