Light up the season with simple homemade gifts and decorative delights from your garden. This article links to other resources for holiday gift-making and giving. Two of nature’s most familiar colours – red and green – are key players in most holiday-season décors, giving plant lovers a decided advantage in the ho-ho-ho stakes. While gardens are typically not planted to peak in winter, there is usually still plenty to gather for indoor and outdoor decoration. Myriad greenery – from cedars and conifers to that sometimes-pesky English ivy – can serve as a mainstay for wreaths, table centrepieces and gift-wrapping notions. The dark-green leaves of the holly tree are always useful in seasonal decorating and come with “added value” – those glossy and colourful berries. When you are decorating with plant material gathered from your garden or bought from a florist or garden centre, always remember that some plants are toxic and should be placed out of the reach of children and pets. Holly berries, for example, can cause stomach upset if eaten. Poinsettias, on the other hand, have had a bad rap when it comes to toxicity: The Society of American Florists says extensive testing has demonstrated that poinsettias are not poisonous, so go ahead and enjoy the beauty of this holiday favourite in abundance.
Gardeners – certainly all those I’ve met – are exceptionally generous people, eager to share seeds and cuttings with kindred spirits. This big-hearted attitude often extends to the holiday season, when green thumbs delight in making the most of the bounty in their gardens. Cuttings rooted and potted are a wonderful gift and carry the message: “I took the time and trouble to grow these for you.” Seeds from a plant admired during the summer, canned fruit and vegetables, or herb-flavoured teas, creatively packaged and neatly labelled, are a joy to give and receive. GardenWise stylist Heather Cameron, working from her South Surrey hobby farm, has heaped up a pile of holiday decorating and gift ideas with the garden-lover in mind – from extravagant yet easy ice sculptures to welcome-home wreaths, from gorgeous gift hampers to playful panfuls of paperwhites and portable potagers. Enjoy! See also: Gifts for Gardeners Gifts for Birds Slideshow: Gifts for Gardeners Slideshow: Ice it, light it or hang it