As gardeners, we love to share a little bit of our garden with friends and loved ones by using our garden’s bountiful goodness.
It can be as simple as an aromatic bag of potpourri or a jar of jam made with homegrown berries. No matter what we grow to give, people always appreciate receiving something that was grown in our own garden. Celebrate the Year of the Lavender with these 5 lovely gifts.
Spa-style Lavender Bath Bag
Luxurious spa-style bath bags are simple, inexpensive and much appreciated. They are easily created using oats and dried herbs from the garden. Purchase some small cotton tea bags with drawstrings. Combine into each bag: ½ cup old fashioned oats and ¼ cup dried lavender or mint from your garden. Tie the strings closed and attach instructions that state the bag should be dropped into a warm bath as the tub fills. The oats soothes and moisturizes the skin while the herbs release their delicious fragrance.
Herbed Sea Salt
Keep a small container of this secret ingredient next to your stove and use it in savory recipes to replace plain salt.
- 1 tsp each, dried, of summer savory, basil, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, lavender
- 2 cups coarse sea salt
Place all herbs in a food processor and pulse until crushed. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the coarse sea salt, mix well. Transfer to an airtight container. This may be stored indefinitely at room temperature.
Lavender Lemon Water
Who doesn’t love a refreshing glass of infused water with fresh produce slices of lemons or cucumbers? You can flavor water with just about anything that’s edible and in season – from fruit and veggies to herbs and even edible flowers, all from your garden!
Here is a recipe sure to keep you cool, and it may help you relax and unwind after a stressful workday or a long afternoon battling the weeds.
Slice one lemon and toss a few lavender sprigs into a pitcher of water and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two. The lemon and lavender can be used for up to two days by just refilling your pitcher.
Showcase the beautiful color and relaxing aroma of lavender year-round with a rustic and chic lavender wreath.
You will need:
- Dried lavender stems
- 15″ grapevine wreath
- Florist wire or other pliable wire
- Ribbon (optional)
Harvest your lavender at any time, but its fragrance is at its peak when flower buds have formed but not opened. Keep the stems as long as possible. Tie stems in bunches, leaving a long tail of string so you can hang them upside down in a dark, cool, area (or an area out of direct sunlight). Your lavender is fully dry when stems snap rather than bend; this can take 2-4 weeks. Keep the green stems around 9″ long for color contrast. Tuck small bundles of stems (around 15) into the vines to secure them. Overlap small bundles to make the design full. Add any other dried flowers or ribbon as you like. Using wire, create a loop on the back of your wreath at the top for hanging.
Hang your wreath and enjoy! Refresh the scent with lavender essential oil if the scent fades over time. Your wreath will hold its color and scent best when displayed out of direct sunlight.
Do you love to inhale the smells of summer during the winter months? Then be sure to take cuttings from your plants like lavender, lemon verbena, rosemary, sage and mint to be dried and used as fragrant fire starters. Simply harvest your plants, tie into large bundles and hang upside down to dry. When they are dry and brittle gather them into smaller bundles and tie with cotton string or twine. For gifts, give several in a basket or paper bag with instructions that they are to be used as fragrant kindling when starting a fire.
National Garden Bureau credits our members for these creative ideas and photos. Special thanks to NGB members Garden Trends/Harris Seeds, PanAmerican Seed, Burpee Home Gardens, Botanical Interests, Peace Tree Farms and Bonnie Plants.