Tag Archives: Plant

A Bushel-Filled Birthday Gift

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I have a friend who has a birthday right around Memorial Day weekend. So this year, I decided to put together a gift with a red, white, and blue theme. Okay…it’s actually red, white, and teal–but that’s close enough! 🙂 I thought I’d tell you how I put this together in case you wanted to try this idea out sometime!

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I used this rustic bushel basket as a gift container…the red, white, and teal design was perfect, because the birthday girl, Alisa, loves red and teal. I wish I could say that I had painted this design on the basket myself, but I purchased it this way from an antique/gift shop. If you can’t find the right rustic basket from a shop, you could paint your own design on a new bushel basket or keep it natural and unpainted, depending on what your gift color theme is. Unpainted bushel baskets are pretty reasonable. If you just need one or two, your local craft store is probably your best resource. If you want to buy in bulk, here’s a site to check out–the Texas Basket Company. I haven’t ordered anything from this site, but it looks like they have a good variety of baskets to choose from. These baskets make great gift containers because they’re very reusable…they can be used as large plant containers inside or out on a porch, or used to hold other decorative or practical items inside the home.

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Next, you need items to fill the basket! My friend loves flowers, so I decided to get her a Vinca plant that she could either keep in a pot or plant in the ground. I included a pot in her favorite color, teal, and lined it with a plastic bag, putting the plant on top of that. If she decides not to pot the plant, it’s a cute enough pot for her to use as a pencil or brush holder, since she is a wonderfully talented, artsy person!

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I also had another gift item, a set of four vintage ice cream sundae glasses for her family of four, that I put in a gift box. Because this “bushel basket” gift had a red, white, and blue theme, I decided not to wrap the white box and just tie it with a fun red polka-dot ribbon.

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That’s about all that would fit into this bushel basket! I filled any open spots with some red polka-dot tissue.

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And voila! There you have it…a creative, eye-appealing gift that’s also very functional and practical!

It’s not hard putting a gift like this together–the key is knowing what the person likes, what their interests and hobbies are, and what colors appeal to them. Antique shops and flea markets are great resources for finding unique containers and smaller items to tuck into a gift container. Garden shops, craft stores, and sporting goods stores are also great places to find special-interest gifts. And, of course, handmade items and homemade goodies are always wonderful gifts, too. It’s fun when you find just the right things to make a one-of-a-kind gift for the person you’re celebrating!

Boxwood Basil

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This fall I decided to try growing a basil plant inside so I could use it for cooking during the winter. I have a really nice, large sunny window in one of my rooms and thought it would be the perfect spot for a pot of basil.

I decided to try a Boxwood Basil plant, which I purchased at Lowe’s. Boxwood Basil has much, much smaller leaves than other varieties of basil, but the flavor and aroma are the same. It’s great to be able to pick some tiny leaves from this plant and use them fresh in salads, soups and other things…there’s nothing like fresh basil! My little basil plant is doing so well by the sunny window, too. I just water it a little every other day.

If you’d like more tips on growing Boxwood Basil, check out this information at eHow.com.

A Surprise in my Garden

Now that we’re well into fall, I’ve been getting the garden ready for winter little by little. As I have time, I trim and clear the flower beds of dried stems and leaves so they’ll look a little neater over winter. As I was clearing one bed recently, I saw what looked like part of a cantaloupe under the leaves of another bushy plant. How would a cantaloupe get in my flower bed? I wondered. When I cleared away some of the growth covering this strange object, I discovered that it was indeed a nice round little cantaloupe still attached to the vine! I didn’t plant any cantaloupe seeds in my garden-I actually have tried to grow melons before, but with no success. So it must have grown from seeds in my compost pile. All year long, I continue to add coffee grounds, fresh fruit and vegetable scraps (including seeds), and plant clippings to the compost pile in my yard. This spring, I had a nice amount of rich, moist compost to spread around my flower beds. And without me realizing it, this cantaloupe vine had started growing in one of the beds, mostly hidden by other bigger plants. What a fun surprise! I felt a little sense of accomplishment as I picked the melon off the vine in my garden, even though I hadn’t really done anything to cause it to grow. So, I am resolving next year to try growing melons again!

In case you’re wondering what those other cuttings are in the basket, they are blooms from my garlic chive plants that are in the process of drying out. In the fall, I collect the seeds from the dried chive blooms. I plant these the following spring to grow more chive plants and also give the seeds to friends who plant them in their yards. Chives are so easy to grow and it’s great to have them growing all summer long so you can use them fresh when you cook and bake things! Finely chopped chives are also good mixed in cream cheese or scrambled eggs. Here’s a close-up of the chive bloom–those little black rounded shapes in the upper right of the photo are the seeds…

I haven’t cut open the cantaloupe yet…I want to admire it a little longer before I do! 🙂

Garden Update: Late Summer

I thought I’d better post a summer garden update before summer is over! 🙂 Even though we had a lot of hot, dry weather this summer, my flowers and herbs did pretty well. I have a lot of sun in my yard, so I always try to buy plants that do well in full sun. The plants I’m showing here all bloom most of the summer.

Here’s my basil, which really did great this year! I’ve enjoyed making a lot of pesto from the four small plants that I bought back in April, which have grown to be quite large. And I recently tried a new recipe with my basil, Creamy Lemon-Basil Pasta, which you may want to try…

One of my favorite bushes is my butterfly bush. It blooms most of the summer and the blooms have a light, pretty scent. They look a little like small lilacs…

Here’s a view of the entire bush–it’s so pretty when it’s in full bloom…

I have some flocks in my garden that I love seeing come up every year…

The daisies come up every year, too, and multiply like crazy! I planted a small patch of them from seeds, and now I have large clusters of them in many different places in my yard…

I have two lavender bushes–one in the front yard and one in the back. I love the smell of lavender, and I collect the buds and dry them so I can make lavender sachets and enjoy the scent all year long!

I’ve had these pretty yellow flowers in my yard for about five years…they come up every year and friends have asked me what they’re called, but I can’t remember their name! If any of you flower experts out there know, please tell me!

Last but not least, here’s a photo of a zinnia. They are such vivid, pretty flowers! I grew some from seeds that a friend gave me…

Well that concludes the “Late Summer” Garden Tour! Hope you enjoyed viewing all the summer plants!