Stocking Stuffers: Gifts for Gardeners

Gifts for gardeners aren’t always easy to come by but we’ve got six stocking stuffers that are sure to suit your down-to-earth family and friends. Here are our top six stuffer ideas for the holiday gift-giving season:

 

HoneyLocal Honey
It’s a bear to find local honey these days if you aren’t sure where to look for it. But look no more! Did you know Garden Supply Company has over 50 bee hives and that we harvest our own honey? Well, it’s true. Look for our Local Honey sign up front and our cute, little bear jars full of nature’s finest sweet stuff.

 

 

SockittomeSock It To Me Socks
Baby, it’s cold outside and chances are the socks that gardener friend of yours have aren’t quite warm enough, long enough or this quirky and cute! We love this cherry blossom look but we have many, many more fun Sock it to Me designs to choose from in our store.

 

 

BulbBeautiful Bulbs
Sure, oranges, apples and nuts are tradition. But why not stuff your stockings with a gift that will keep giving? We carry a wide assortment of bulbs that are perfect for planting indoors or outdoors. Be sure to set your eyes on our gigantic amaryllis bulbs! Bigger bulbs mean bigger blooms.

 

 

SeedsofHappinessSeeds of Happiness
You can’t buy happiness but you can plant it one seed at a time with a sweet, little smile made of clay. Seeds of Happiness are simple really, but it’s the thought that counts with these. The founder, Mark Borella, started the company with leftover lumps of clay he had lying around. He carved great big smiles on small pieces of clay about the size of a thumb and gave them as gifts to his friends. These little do-dads now serve as reminders of happiness for kids and adults all over the world. Place them in potted house plants or office desks or in front of the mirror you use to get ready in the morning and remember to smile!

 

soapSallyeAnder Soaps
Gardners have a way of getting dirty. After digging around in the dirt all day, they need a soap made just for them. SallyAnder claims they make the best soap in America and we believe this statement to be true. Their soaps are so pure you could actually eat them–although we don’t suggest it! Fine essential oils keep these soaps (and your gardener) smelling amazing without the use of parabens, alcohols, sodium laurel sulfates, artificial dyes, synthetic chemicals or foaming agents. We carry a large variety of scents (including a few blended for the holidays) but we really love The Gardener’s Hand which they claim is “the perfect soap for hardworking hands.”

 

freakerFunky Fresh Freakers
They’re made in freaking America, says the label. And they’ve been on the Shark Tank. Still not sure what a Freaker is? Freakers are glorified knit koozies that fit every cold beverage your gardener’s heart might desire. Water? Pepsi? Gallon of milk? Yes, Freakers will fit all three! They keep your hands warm and dry while keeping your friends and you looking super fly. Choose one for your favorite team or a design just for fun. Try one. It’s sure to be a game changer.

Garden to Table: Broiled Rosemary Salmon Recipe

While the leaves of many of our trees and shrubs are falling in the garden, evergreen staples like rosemary continue to provide us with a soft green foliage throughout the colder seasons. Rosemary also supplies us with an aromatic ingredient that’s perfect to spice up many fall and winter dishes. Plant with purpose!

Already have rosemary growing in your garden? Try our quick, easy and heart-healthy recipe below!

Broiled Rosemary Salmon 

rosemaryIngredients:

  • 4 pieces of salmon
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh, chopped rosemary (from your garden!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil spray
  • salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Combine rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper in small mixing bowl. Brush mixture onto fish.
  3. Spray broiler pan rack with olive oil spray & place fish on it.
  4. Broil 4 inches from the heat until fish flakes easily with a fork or approximately 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. If the fish is more than 1 inch thick, gently turn halfway through broiling.

Recipe from skinnytaste.com

Amaryllis: A gift that keeps on giving

amaryllisSo you don’t want to cook but you feel compelled to bring something to the Thanksgiving dinner you were invited to by the neighbors. Why bring something that will be gobbled up in one day anyway, when you could instead give a gift that keeps on giving?

The amaryllis. They’re cheap, fast and easy to grow. And now is the perfect time to plant them. You’ve seen them boxed and wrapped in 500 different ways at more stores than you thought carried green goods. The reason so many retailers carry them? Because they provide an impeccable bang for your buck and because on a care-giving scale they’re easy as pie.

They’re not so pretty when you buy them–just a bulb, soil and a pot that usually come together as a kit. But once that first glimpse of green appears, the receiver of this gift will find themselves tranced by the pace of this bulb’s growth and then stunned by the enormous, bold blooms this holiday plants carries.

To care for the amaryllis, place the potted bulb in a warm, sunny place in the home. The warmer the temperature, the faster the bulb will sprout and grow! Here’s a helpful hint: try placing the pot on top of the refrigerator where it is extra warm. This may stimulate growth.

Water the amaryllis only after the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If your kit comes with Spanish moss, just be sure to lift the moss when you water. We don’t want to cause our sweet potted pet to rot at the roots!

There are many varieties of amaryllis. We carry several kit varieties as well as single bulbs. Each variety has a slightly different growth period but in general, you’ll begin to see the bulb transform between two to eight weeks after it’s potted.

Once the amaryllis sprouts, be sure it’s receiving ample sunlight. South-facing windows and sunrooms are perfect! These plants grow quite fast and very tall. If you (or your neighbor) notice the stalk is beginning to lean in one direction, simply rotate it often so that it will begin to grow towards the direction of the light and straighten itself back out. If the amaryllis grows extra tall, it may need a small stake for added support.

So how does this bulb keep giving? With proper care and minimal effort, this beauty will bloom again! After the blossoms die, cut the dried flowers leaving the stalk until it also dies back. Keep watering and fertilizing the plant which may still provide long, elegant green foliage through the winter until the last frost. When spring temperatures are about 50 degrees, begin to transition the plant to the outdoors by bringing the pot out to a shady area. Plants can get sunburn too! So this step is imperative. Slowly, expose the plant to more light until finally planting it in the ground in a sunny area of the yard. Water and fertilize for about six weeks and come summer, you’ll have yet another bloom.

By mid-August, after this bloom fades, leave it alone. No need for water or plant food. Come September, dig up the bulb from outdoors and find that pot from the last Thanksgiving to plant it in. Store it in a cool, dark place and leave it alone for at least two months.

Remember how long it took for the amaryllis to bloom last time? Do a little math and decide when you want your bulb to bloom. When you’re ready, remove it from your closet, pantry or wherever you stored it, and begin to water it just as you did the first time.

Repeat each and every year. Now, that’s a gift worth giving.

For additional tips on amaryllis bulbs or other plant care questions, feel free to drop by Garden Supply Company any time. We’ll be happy to help you.

How to make your own holiday accent bows

DSC_0127Accent bows. They are the focal point of the wreaths on our front doors. They’re at the tops of our Christmas trees and grace all of our windows with perfect symmetry. They seem so elegant in their simplicity. And they are simple. Holiday accent bows can be just as easy to create as they are easy on the eye. Can you tie them in a knot? Then you can tie them in a bow.

So gather your ribbons from the attic or drop by to see us. (We have an entire wall filled with holiday ribbon!) Pick a traditional red felt or go all out with hues of blue or glitter galore. The choice is up to you! While you’re out, pick up a spool of floral wire and wire cutters (if you don’t already own a pair).

Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1. Furrow the brow. Put a smirk in the lip and get your Martha Stewart face on. Confidence is key. Get ready to rock these ribbons!

Step 2. Pump up the holiday jams. Let’s get inspired. Now, decide just how large you want your bow. Take the end piece of your ribbon and create a loop. Pinch and twist. Wrap the cinched center with your floral wire.

Step 3. Repeat step two, creating another loop approximately the same size. Place it opposite of the first loop. Once you’ve pinched and twisted, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…until you are satisfied with the fullness of your accent bow.

Step 4. Fasten the center of the bow with floral wire by wrapping several times. Once you feel it’s secure, twist at the back leaving enough wire to later use to fasten your bow to a wreath, window or tree.

Step 5. Fluff it up and hang your unique, hand-made accent bow in your place of choice.

Think you’ll be needing a little extra hands-on help in the accent bow department? Join us Thursday, November 19 from 6:00-7:30pm for our Holiday Wine and Design Workshop and get ready to knock your neighbor’s socks off. For details, click here.

DIY: How to make your own terrarium in seven easy steps

Terrariums are so in right now! But they can cost a pretty penny if you decide to purchase a pre-made terrarium off of the shelf. So why not save a few bucks and create something that’s truly your own?

TerrariumWhat you’ll need:
-Glass container
-Scissors
-Gloves
-Potting soil
-Stones or glass
-Moss*
-Decorative pieces*
-Small plants

* = Optional

Here’s how it’s done.

Step 1. Select your glass container. You can use anything so let your imagination grow wild! Search your attic. Find an old mason jar. Or come see us at Garden Supply Company. We have a wide assortment of glass containers to choose from.

Step 2. Once you’ve selected your container, create your first drainage layer by pouring the stones or glass pieces you purchased into the bottom of it. Pour so that the depth of this layer is about 1” to 2” from the bottom. This will provide a place for any water not absorbed by the plants to settle.

Step 3. Adding activated charcoal is the secret step in keeping bacteria, odors and fungus out of your terrarium. It can be a bit messy so this is where your gloves may come in handy. Scoop a handful into your glass container. Just enough to cover the rocks is perfect.

Step 4. Keep your gloves on! Now it’s time to add your soil. Select a soil that’s appropriate for the type of plants you’ve picked. Succulents require a different composition than your other smaller house plants. Try not to mix the two in your container. Add 1” to 3” of soil just on top of the charcoal, depending on your container size. Just be sure there’s enough room for the roots of your plants.

Step 5. Remove plants from the plastic containers they came in and break up the root ball with your fingers. If the roots are especially long, you can trim them back with the scissors slightly to fit the container. Use your fingers to create room for your plants. Place them accordingly.

Step 6. Now it’s time to rock your little world! Add miniature accessories like moss, figurines or marbles. Want to make it festive? This is where it gets fun! It’s getting close to the holidays, so why not add mini holiday knick-knacks to your terrarium that you can replace after the holidays?

Step 7. Chances are, your terrarium is still a little bit of a mess. So dust it off and wipe any dirt from the sides of your container. Water your cute little indoor garden with just a little bit of water. Your new terrarium doesn’t need as much water as most house plants so water sparingly!

Still think you need a little help? No worries! We have the perfect DIY event for you. Join us Sunday, November 15 for our Holiday Terrariums workshop. Want to find out more? Click here.

Bulb Lasagne: A Recipe for Fall

All we can think of are pansies and mums. It’s that time of year, right? Well, yes. But don’t forget to think ahead!

AlthoughBulbs we just entered fall, now is the time to think spring. The best time to plant bulbs to bloom for the spring is between October and November–right now! So while you’re repotting your container gardens with those pansies, mums and evergreens, be sure to grab a handful of your favorite bulbs while you’re at it. This way, by the time spring rolls around you’ll be in for a hands-free continuous and colorful blooming treat.

One of Garden Supply Company’s favorite ways to plant bulbs for container gardens can be found in a recipe we like to call Bulb Lasagne–otherwise known as bulb layering. Using this technique, you’ll maximize the space in your planters using the depth of the pots to carefully place bulbs at different heights according to which bulbs will bloom first to last. By layering your bulbs, you’ll also maximize the color and number of blooms you’ll see come spring. Give it a whirl!

 

Bulb Lasagne


Ingredients
Potting soil
Food for bulbs
Bulbs––Choose one of your favorites from each layer below!

Top Layer
Crocus
Grape Hyacinth
Anemone
Scilla

Middle Layer
Hyacinth
Tulip
Daffodil

Bottom
Allium
Iris

Be sure your pot has a hole for drainage. Fill the bottom of your container with potting soil and bulb food. Leave about six inches of space from the top. Plant the bottom layer (largest bulbs) about one inch apart. Add about two more inches of soil and food. Then place your medium-sized bulbs in the potting mix about one inch apart. Add another layer of soil and food. Plant your final layer of smaller bulbs. Add more soil and bulb food.
Now it’s time to plant for those pansies and mums! Plant your fall foliage on top of your bulb lasagne so you’ll have something for now and something for later.

In need of bulbs, pots, potting soil or further assistance? Join our special guest Suzanne Edney on Fri, October 16, 9:30am – 10:30am for Coffee and Gardening. This week we’ll be talking about bulbs!