by Donna Torrey
This is the time of year when everyone starts to lament about gift giving. It seems that everybody has everything, nobody wants anymore stuff, is on a diet, or doesn’t have time for anything. So, what’s a gift-giver to do?
Well, send your garden to the rescue! This is a great time to go out into your yard and pot up some volunteers that you could give as holiday gifts. If you are a butterfly gardener, then you have lots of milkweed seedlings, native passion vine seedlings, and seeds from cassias. You could make a lovely butterfly gardening theme basket; add a few seed packets, some information, and voila!
If you have bananas, then you could pot up a pup and give it to some poor soul who doesn’t have one yet, and if yours is about to bumper crop like mine is right now, then make up some banana bread while you have the time and freeze it for gift-giving.

If you have native trees such as Jamaican Caper, Wild Coffee, Red Bay, Simpson’s Stoppers, among others, then pot up some seedlings now. It is important to do it now while the weather is still quite warm; it will give the seedlings time to grow and establish—about two weeks. No one wants to receive a wilted specimen, no matter how rare. Be sure to water transplants daily, and keep in partial sun until they don’t wilt anymore. Fertilize with organic fertilizer.
If you are an orchid collector, now is a good time to separate some lovelies, put them in special pots, or not, and share the wealth! Orchids are also great mounted on old pieces of hardwood, wrapped with Spanish moss, and you could even decorate them with ornaments if you want to be really jazzy.
The point is, if you look around your home and yard, you can find lots of things to recycle into fabulous gifts from the garden. Look around your kitchen for novel pots and planting vessels: old bowls, pots and pans, trays, mugs, teacups, you name it—a plant can call it a home. Drill holes for drainage unless it’s an aquatic or bog plant.
These gifts are truly the kind that keep on giving, and will be constant reminders of your love and thoughtfulness. Spread the joy!

Plants and seeds are always available at The Garden Gate, located at Sears, 2251 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Citi Centre (corner of Copans Rd. and Federal Hwy.), 954-783-4283,