Let’s face it, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, BUT it can also be the most stressful. Particularly when trying to find the right gift for friends and family.

Well, I’m here to help you find the perfect present for the gardener in your life, OR you can add them to your own personal wish list!

*This blog post contains affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission if you purchase an item at no additional cost to you.

Laptop Computer Floral Case

I spend a lot of time on my laptop and like it to reflect my love for plants. You can choose the cactus option, but they also offer a variety of other floral designs for all types of laptops.

Garden Kneeler and Seat

This versatile tool will help save both your back and knees when working in the garden. You can sit on it or flip it over and use to kneel on. I also like the pouches on the sides where I can place my favorite pair of hand pruners.

Birthstone Flower Necklace

I wouldn’t mind getting one of these lovely necklaces for Christmas. Handmade in Tennessee, these are a great personal gift. My birth flower is paperwhite, what’s yours?

GrowOya Terracotta Vessel

“Ollas” are specially shaped clay pots that are used to help irrigate plants. They are buried in the ground next to plants with just the top peeking out. Fill them up periodically and they gradually release water out the sides as the soil dries out. These can be used in pots, vegetable gardens, and other spots in the garden.

Insect House

Want to attract beneficial insects to your garden such as ladybugs, lacewings, and native bees? Invite them to your garden with this insect hotel. My husband made me one himself and we had native bees take up residence fairly quickly. It’s also fun for kids!

Amaryllis

I must confess that I never grew an amaryllis until last year and now I’m hooked! They are very easy to grow and the flowers are so gorgeous! Once the stop blooming, you can plant them in a pot or in your vegetable garden and they will bloom again in spring as well as the next year and so on.

Clear Flower Phone Case

Like my computer, I also have a clear floral case for my phone and I get lots of compliments on it. The color of your phone doesn’t matter as the case is clear and the flowers look great with any background color.

Hanging Test Tube Planter

I love these small hanging containers. They are perfect for a single sprig of a flowering citrus tree, or sage or yellow bell flower. I definitely want one!

‘Crazy Plant Lady’ Tote

I have a tote bag very much like this one and I get lots of comments whenever I bring it to a class I am teaching. Perfect for carrying books, folders, an iPad, or most small to medium-sized items.

Dramm Blue Rain Wand

If you enjoy container gardening, you’ll love watering them with a rain wand, which gives them a nice sprinkle without causing the soil to wash out. Dramm is one of my favorite garden brands because they create them in all kinds of bright colors. Blue is just one of the many different colors available.

Flower Reading Glasses

I am so reliant on my readers for being able to see small print that I have several pairs located throughout the house so they are just a hand’s reach away. The glasses I wear are always colorful and it’s a bonus if I find some with flowers like these!

Professional Rose Pruning Gloves

If you have ever picked a rose, you know how easy it is to be stabbed by their thorns. A regular pair of gloves doesn’t always protect you from the injury, but these professional gloves do and are a wonderful gift for anyone who has a rose bush in their garden.

I hope that these garden gift ideas help you with your own wishlist or to find the perfect present for the special gardener in your life!

*Still looking for more garden gift ideas? Check out my recommendations from last Christmas here

 

 

 

We’ve reached the final day of our garden gift lists and today, it’s all about kids.

Gifts with a garden theme aren’t just for adults; there is no better way to foster the curious spirit of children and lead them on a path of discovery about the natural world around them than the gift of a kid-sized kit with a garden theme. As a mom and grandma, I’ve enjoyed countless hours with young children as they learn about plants and insects. Here are some gift ideas for the young people in your life.

1. Root Viewer

Foster a love for vegetable gardening by showing kids what goes on beneath the soil. They plant a carrot, onion, and radish seeds and watch the roots develop at the same time that the leafy tops grow. Click here to learn more and purchase. 

2. Butterfly Garden

Join with your kids as you view the miracle of caterpillars transform into butterflies. All you need is inside this best-selling kit, except for the sugar water. I wrote about my experience of doing this with my kids. Needless to say, they loved it! Click here to order. 

3. Grow N’ Glow Terrarium

Terrariums are fun for both adults and kids alike, allowing them to view a self-contained world. I like that this kit has all you need to make your own while learning about plants and how they grow. My 6-year-old granddaughter, Lily, asked for this for Christmas. Click here to order. 

4. Mason Bee House

Imagine the delight of your kids when they see little mason bees making their home in this little bee house. Mason bees are important pollinators and don’t sting, making this a safe and fun gift. Click here to order. 

5. Little Diggers Garden Tool Set

Young children like to work alongside adults in the garden, so how about getting them their own set of kid-sized tools? Believe it or not, we bought this when my 32 and 23-year-old daughters were little, and they used them often. All of the tools lasted a long time. In fact, we still have the little shovel! Click here to order. 

The right garden gift for a child can foster a lifelong love of gardening, and you can be the one to begin them on this journey.

This concludes my Four Days of Garden Gifts. If you missed any of them, here they are – Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

 

It’s Day 3 of our garden gift ideas and today it’s all about books.

Gardening in the Southwest can be challenging because many of the traditional gardening rules and plants just don’t work here and traditional garden literature often ignores the unique opportunities and challenges that our arid climate presents. A good book that focuses on our distinct region can become an invaluable tool. As a garden writer, I know many garden authors and have been asked to review many books, and I include my top eight with you.

As a garden writer, I’ve been asked to review some garden books and know several of the authors personally and can attest to their expertise in gardening in the Southwest.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

 

1. Southwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Our dry climate is an ideal region for growing fruits and vegetables because we have fewer insect pests and disease than more temperate areas. From apples, peaches, to citrus – many types of fruit can be grown here. Vegetable gardening is a favorite pastime of mine, and due to our relatively mild winters, we can grow them throughout the entire year. Tucson native, Jacqueline Soule, teaches you how to create your own edible, southwestern garden. Click here to order. 

2. Gardening In The Deserts of Arizona

Mary Irish is one of my favorite authors and worked for years at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Her books are what I like to refer to as the ‘bible’ of growing ornamental plants in the Southwest. From lists of plants that grow well in our climate to how to maintain them each month, this book is a must-have for new (and old) desert gardeners. She has written several books, but this is a good one to start with as it breaks down how to care for your garden. I met her at a conference in California and found her utterly charming and down to earth. Click here to order. 

3. Lawn Gone

Austin, Texas resident, Pam Penick, is well known for her blog, Digging, as well as her frequent contributions to a variety of gardening magazines. Her approach is saving water in the garden by removing or minimizing lawn areas, with an emphasis on simple and creative design solutions. I am fortunate to call Pam my friend and have toured gardens with her in Arizona and California. I’ve owned this book for several years, and it still ranks as one of my favorites. Click here to order. 

4. Potted

Earlier this year, I was contacted by Annette and asked to review her book. She and Mary own a trendy garden shop in Los Angeles that focuses on outdoor accessories and design services. As its title suggests, this book focuses on instructing readers on how to create unique containers using everyday items. The results are eye-catching and add a welcome design element to garden spaces. This book is for those on your list who like to be on the cutting edge of gardening trends. Click here to order. 

5. Growing Vegetables in Drought, Desert, and Dry Times

If you or someone on your gift list like to grow vegetables, this is an invaluable book which speaks specifically to growing an edible garden in an arid climate. Tips for maximizing your harvest while managing water is an important skill to learn and the author draws upon her experience of living and gardening in the desert regions of California. Grouping this book along with packets of vegetable seeds and a raised bed kit, would be a much-appreciated gift for a beginning vegetable gardener. Click here to order. 

6. Homegrown Herb Garden

Herbs are very easy to grow and flourish in arid climates. I grow them in pots, in my vegetable garden, as well as indoors. One of the authors, Ann McCormick, also known as the ‘Herb n’ Cowgirl’ has a blog by the same name. This book provides helpful growing tips along with how to use them to flavor your favorite dishes making it a great choice for the gardener and cook on your list. Click here to order yours.

7. Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest

Many gardening books contain smaller lists of plants, but this Mary Irish book has comprehensive lists of shrubs and trees that flourish in the Southwest. It delves beyond the often repeated plant palette of bougainvillea, oleander, and Texas sage, and goes further into the impressive variety of plants that can grow here. This book is a thoughtful choice for those who want to learn more about the plants that can grow in our arid climate. Click here to order.

8. The Water-Saving Garden

This book holds a special place for me because of the author, Pam Penick, who made a journey to visit me in Arizona while researching her book. We spent an entire day together visiting gardens throughout the greater Phoenix area (including mine), covering over one-hundred-fifty miles. Many of the photos that she took that day are in the book, which as its title suggests, focuses on how to create lovely gardens that don’t need a lot of water. Click here to order. 

All of these books will serve to inspire and teach the gardener on your list, how to create a beautiful garden that will thrive in the arid Southwest climate.

Want more ideas? Check out Day 1 and Day 2 of my garden gift ideas. 

Tomorrow, I’ll share my picks for garden gifts for kids. 

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I’m counting down the days until Christmas and am helping you whittle down your gift list with great ideas for the gardener in your life. Yesterday, we talked about shopping online for Plants (amaryllis, air plants, roses, and succulents) and today; it’s all about Garden Tools and Gear to help to make your time in the garden easier and more enjoyable. I’ve created a must-have list of colorful tools and garden totes, including a pair of gardening shoes that I hope find their way underneath my Christmas tree.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

1. Slogger Garden Shoes 

I desperately need a pair of shoes that I can slip on whenever I step out into the garden that I can easily clean afterward. Slogger makes plastic clogs and boots with fun floral designs. These are at the top of my Christmas list, which is a good thing as I’ve been known to walk in the garden in my slippers. Click here to order your pair. 

2. TubTrug

I’m not afraid to admit that this unassuming plastic tub is in the top five of my most used garden tools. Tub trugs are flexible garden containers that can be used in some ways – as a planter, to collect plant clippings and debris, or to harvest fruit and vegetables.  There are probably other uses, but I use mine in the garden when I am deadheading my perennials and roses. They come in some pretty bright colors and multiple sizes. Click here to order.

3. Planter Inserts

In many cases, large to medium-sized planters don’t need to be  filled all the way with soil as plant roots don’t necessarily reach down that far. Planting mix is expensive and makes containers heavy, so planter inserts have come along and solved both of these problems. The inserts are placed inside of the pots, about two-thirds of the way down where they rest and potting mix is added on top of them. They come in a variety of sizes and are extremely useful. Click here to order yours.  

4. Felco Hand Pruners

A good pair of hand pruners is probably the most-used garden tool. From deadheading a favorite rose bush, to pruning small branches, they do it all. While there are a large number of different brands, some are better than others, and the very best are made by Felco. They cut cleanly and are comfortable to use. Also, their blades can be sharpened, making this a garden tool that will last you for years. I’ve used many different hand pruners and Felco the best. Click here to order. 

5. Ergonomic Hand Shovel

For those who do a lot of container planting or work in the vegetable garden, hand shovels are an indispensable tool for making shallow trenches and digging small holes. But, digging over time can be hard on your wrists, so I use one with a uniquely-shaped handle that puts less stress on my hands and wrists. It also comes in a lot of different colors as well. Click here to order. 

 

Gardening is more enjoyable when you are equipped with the proper tools, and the gardeners in your life will appreciate these items that will make their outdoor hobby easier.

Tomorrow, I am going to share my top five gardening books that are specific for Southwest gardens. So please stop by for another visit. 

 

 

The holidays are here and if you are like me, you a long list of people to find the perfect gift for. Because I love plants and gardening, I like to look for gifts with a garden theme to give, as well as to give my husband some hints as to what to get for me.

I’ve created lists of some of my favorite garden gifts and have split them up into different categories, which I will share with you over the next week, so be sure to check back daily.  For your ease and convenience, all items can be purchased online, so grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

What is gardening without plants? Thankfully, it is easy to order a variety of plants for the gardener in your life. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Waxed Amaryllis

I’m starting out with my favorite this year. Imagine a plant that needs no water, fertilizer or any special care other than to place it by a window? While the dramatic blooms of amaryllis are a popular holiday gift, these waxed amaryllises take it one step further. Covered in wax, they have all the water and fertilizer needed for them to bloom, which makes them an excellent choice for people with a self-professed ‘black thumb’. Click here to order.

Want to learn more about this pretty, low-maintenance flower? I talk about it in my newest Facebook Live video:

Since I’ve posted the video, I’ve heard from several of you that you have seen these for sale at their local grocery and big box stores, so they shouldn’t be hard to find if you don’t want to order them online.

 

2. David Austin English Rose

Christmas is the best time to buy a new rose for the garden, ready for being planted in January. David Austin has created a class of roses the couples the beautiful shape and fragrance of the old-fashioned roses with the repeat blooming of more modern roses.  Why else should you want to add one of these beauties to your garden? They are disease resistant and much lower-maintenance than your more traditional roses. My favorite is ‘Olivia Rose’, which grows in my side garden where I view their pretty pink blossoms from my kitchen window. David Austin roses can be ordered here.

 

 

3. Potted Succulents

Dive into the latest gardening craze, which is all about succulents. You don’t need a lot of space to grow your own – just a pot, potting mix, and a pretty little succulent. Imagine how nice this would look on your windowsill. There are a number of potted succulents available such as this one with a gold-toned planter. Click here to order.

4. Air Plants

Create your own little garden world with this kit, that has all you need, including an air plant, moss, rocks and a lovely hanging glass container. Air plants have such unique shapes and are easy to care for. Click here to order.

5. Assorted Agave

Did you know that there are over 200 species of agave? The different shapes, colors, and sizes mean that there is one (or more) that are right for your garden. You can get a good start on an agave collection by ordering this assortment either for yourself or divide it up into four separate gifts. Click here to order. 

Do you have a favorite plant that you received as a gift? I’d love to hear about it.

Come back tomorrow when I’ll share my picks for garden tools and gear.

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Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.

Do you have a container, or two, filled with flowers or maybe a succulent? Chances are you do. Many of us settle for the bland shades of brown or beige when choosing pots and miss out on an excellent opportunity to add interest and color to our outdoor spaces.

I am a strong proponent ditching boring neutrals in favor of colorful pots with unique shapes and textures in my ongoing attempt to encourage people to think of plant containers as outdoor decor. As a result, I was thrilled with I was contacted by Annette Gutierrez, one of the authors of Potted: Make Your Own Stylish Garden Containers and asked to review her book.

Innertube from an old tire converted into a planter at the Tucson Botanical Garden.

Within the pages of Potted, Annette and her co-author, Mary Gray, inspire as they show the reader how to create unique and unusual containers that create instant interest.

During my garden travels, I seek everyday items that are reimagined and converted into unorthodox planters such as a recycled tire innertube. 

Annette and Mary refer to themselves as decorators rather than gardeners and own a store in Los Angeles, aptly named Potted where they create innovative receptacles for plants using everyday items such as cinderblock, PVC pipe, and even old wood doors to name but a few. 

If you have ever shopped for colorful or unique containers, you’ve undoubtedly experienced sticker shock at the high prices and settled for a boring, but sturdy terra-cotta pot. Over twenty container ideas await the reader, each of which, meet the following criteria:

  • It must be affordable
  • Materials must be easy to find
  • A good DIY project for the average person

I must admit that after finishing the book, I was looking at ordinary items like paint cans and plastic garbage pails in a different light – decorated and filled with plants.

**UPDATE: The giveaway is over, but you can always order your own copy of Potted.

Disclosure: I received a copy of ‘Potted’ free of charge for my honest review.

As a garden writer and horticulturist, I am often asked to review new gardening books, which is one of my favorite things to do; especially if the books are about growing plants in the desert.

Years ago, there were precious few books that dealt with the unique challenges and solutions to creating a beautiful outdoor space in a hot, arid climate. Nowadays, there are several books that focus on desert gardening, but most just scratch the surface of how to do it. When I was contacted by The Desert Botanical Garden to see if I would review their new book, Desert Landscape School: A Guide to Desert Landscaping and Maintenance, I said yes.

The origins of the book arose from the Desert Landscape School at the gardens, which offers classes for individuals who are interested in specializing in certain aspects of desert landscaping. Graduates earn a certification in one or more areas, including desert plant palette, planting and maintenance, and desert design. A large group of experts was brought together in the creation of this book, including many that work in the garden.

 

Thumbing through my copy, I looked to see how the information was laid out and whether it addressed common landscape dilemmas that are unique to desert gardening. As you may expect, a book from this prestigious garden didn’t disappoint. I found myself reading through its pages and reliving my early days as a horticulturist learning not only the basics of arid gardening principles but also strategies and tips for growing plants that I didn’t learn until later.

This book is for those who want to learn the reasons why we garden the way we do in the desert to more fully understand it. There is also valuable information regarding plant selection, design, sustainability, installation guidelines, and how to properly maintain the landscape. 

I’ve always said that “gardening in the desert isn’t hard, it’s just different” and the book offers practical tips that make growing plants in an arid climate, easier. For example, connecting tree wells using swales and gravity to allow rain water to flow to where it’s needed instead of down the street.

For those of you who have read my blog for awhile, you won’t be surprised to learn that I was interested in the pruning and maintenance section, as I am passionate about teaching people correct pruning practices. One illustration that grabbed my attention was the right and wrong way to prune palm trees.

Badly pruned palm trees

I had taken this photo a couple of weeks ago of palm trees that had been pruned incorrectly with too many fronds removed. Overpruning weakens the tree and leaves it open to other stresses, which the book addresses.

The structure of the book is set up so that each section can be read on its own, so readers can focus on what they are interested in learning most. Of course, I recommend reading the entire book as it contains invaluable information which leaves the reader well-informed and confident in their ability to garden successfully in the desert southwest as well as other desert regions.

Desert Landscaping & Maintenance is truly a one-of-a-kind book that serves the role of several desert gardening books in one, and I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this brand new desert gardening guide.

Right now, the book is available for purchase for visitors to The Desert Botanical Garden or you can buy it online.

Today I’m back with more gift ideas for the gardener in your life.  As a garden writer and horticulturist, I have the opportunity to view and test many different types of products, free of charge so I can give you my honest review.  Some attract my interest right away, while others don’t.  Those that I like, I try out myself before I recommend them to others.  

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

Bloem Fabric Containers

Fabric Planters are a new concept in pots.  They are portable, reusable, washable, and made from recycled water bottles.  The colorful choices were what first attracted me to them.

The bags come in a variety of colors and sizes including this rectangular one, which is the perfect size for growing herbs or vegetables.  My favorite are the mini-herb planters that you can order here.

Dramm Watering Wands

Watering Wands – First of all, I like the description of watering wands because they create a visual picture of plants responding to the ‘magic’ of being watered.

Of course, watering wands aren’t new, but the folks at Dramm have put a new spin on irrigating plants by hand with bright colors.  They also have a chocolate-brown color option as well.

If you haven’t used a watering wand before, they mimic the pattern of rainfall when irrigating plants.  This is important since watering straight from a hose tends to result in water running off with little permeating the soil around the roots.  Dramm’s watering wand slows down the amount of water so that it can reach the roots without disturbing the soil.  It also has an off and on lever for convenience.

For those who like color and gardening, this is a great gift idea – I gave a blue one to my daughter for her Michigan garden.  To order yours, click here.

Dramm Spray Nozzle

Spray Nozzle – Keeping with the watering tool theme, there are a variety of ways to water plants and this tool from Dramm takes the standard spray nozzle and kicks it up a notch.  

Besides the lovely colors, it comes with nine different spray patterns to fulfill whatever need you may have – from watering the vegetable garden, potted plants, or the lawn.  Of course, it usefulness isn’t limited to the garden, this spray nozzle has the perfect settings for washing the car, your dog, or whatever else needs a spray of water.  Click here to order your own.

Dramm Hand Pruners

Compact Hand Pruners – Whenever I am in the garden, I have a pair of hand pruners with me so that I am always prepared to deadhead faded flowers or prune a wayward branch that I always find. 

However, the problem that I frequently encounter is that my pruners don’t fit easily into my pocket when I need my hands for something else.  As a result, I put my pruners down only to have to search for them later when I forget where I put them.

Dramm has addressed this problem that affects women most often as their pockets are too small to hold standard-sized pruners.  Their compact hand pruners are easily held in the palm of your hand and work very well pruning small branches and perennials.  What makes happy is that they fit easily in my back jeans pocket.  Of course, the pretty colors are also a plus – I have a purple pair.  Of all of the colorful gift ideas I’ve shown you today, this one is my favorite.  If you need a great gift idea for the women on your Christmas list (or for yourself), click here to order these pint-sized pruners.

I hope that one or more of these garden tools help you find the perfect gift for those on your list.  If you are wanting one of these tools for yourself, feel free to send them the link to this blog post for an easy way to buy you the perfect gift.  

Still looking for gift ideas?  Come back in a few days for some of my favorite gardening books.

*Disclosure: These products were provided to me free of charge to give my honest review.

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*This post contains affiliate links for a product that I have used. If you click on the affiliate link and buy the product, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links help to support this site. Thank you for supporting Ramblings From a Desert Garden.

 

The Christmas season is in full swing and if you are like me, you are busy shopping for the perfect gift for that special somebody in your life.  My gift list is rather long with five kids, three grandchildren, my husband, siblings, nieces, nephews, and my mother.   As a result, quick trips to the store have been inserted into my busy schedule.  This includes dropping by the store on date nights with my husband.

Whittling down my Christmas list online has become my favorite way of finding special items for loved ones.  Just a few minutes sitting at the computer (or on your phone) and you’re done.  It turns out that you can buy just about anything online and that is certainly true of items for gardeners in your life.

As a horticulturist and garden writer, I get to see a lot of products with a garden theme.  So, in anticipation of Christmas and to help you with your shopping list, I am going to feature creative gift ideas, for the next few weeks, for those in your life who like to grow things.

The folks at Dryden Trading Company asked me to try their Vintage Wooden Window Garden Planter Box Kit and sent me one free of charge for me to review.

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VINTAGE HERB KITS

I’m particularly excited about this gift idea as I enjoy growing herbs throughout the year. I grow herbs outdoors all year in my Arizona garden, but I’ve also grown them indoors on my kitchen windowsill, which is why I was excited to try this all-in-one indoor herb kit.

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The kit arrives in a very nice rustic, wooden box complete with lid.  There are several colors available and I chose the white one.  Everything you need is inside the box – plastic planting tray, soil, seeds, plant markers, chalk, and instructions.  All you need to supply is water.

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1. Add soil to the plastic planting tray.  The soil doesn’t completely fill the tray – but not to worry, this is Wonder Soil.

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2. Add water to the soil.  Immediately, the soil began to expand making sounds like those you hear when you add milk to Rice Krispy cereal – kids would love to watch this stage.

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As you can see, the soil now reaches to the top of the plastic tray.  

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3. Plant herb seeds. The kit comes with five packages of herb seeds with enough seeds left over to plant a second crop.  You can always plant your own seeds as well.  I planted all five varieties of herb seeds, although I must admit that I don’t like cilantro.  However, people in my family do, so I planted it.

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4. Add plant markers.  Popsicle sticks with blackboard paint are a very cute way to identify the newly planted herbs.  As I mentioned before, the vintage herb kit includes everything you need, even a stick of chalk.

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Seeds are planted, plant markers are in, and now it’s time to find the right spot for my new planter.

dryden_trading_company_herb_kit_grow_herbs_indoors-125. Place in an area where the herbs will receive at least 6 hours of sun.  I have a sunny kitchen window which works perfectly.

I am looking forward to seeing little green herbs poke up through the soil.  Better yet, I can hardly wait to use them to flavor my favorite dishes.  

If you have someone on your Christmas list who likes to garden or cook with fresh herbs, this would be an excellent gift idea.   You can visit their website to see the different options for ordering a vintage herb garden for a loved one or yourself.

**Come back soon for more gift ideas for those who love to garden.

 

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