Looking for a great, inspirational gift for the holiday season- one that keeps on giving, with the natural world and environment in mind? It’s easy to inspire a new gardener or please a more experienced green-thumb without spending a bundle over the holidays. A present of seed and/or seed starting kits, particularly for youngsters, is truly a gift that keeps on giving. Gardening is a healthy and environmentally friendly skill to encourage – a hobby that will last a lifetime, and one that can help support other living creatures, particularly pollinators like honeybees…
My passion for gardening developed in early childhood. It all started with a milk carton filled with soil and a few flower seeds. Easy to start seeds, such as sunflower, marigold and zinnia, make great gifts for gardening novices and kids during the winter holidays. When giving seeds to children, I always like to stick them inside a book, like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ or ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, to spark imagination and curiosity.
For gardening cooks, herb seeds, (particularly organic basil, parsley, sage, mint and coriander), are always appreciated both in the kitchen and in the vegetable garden, where they attract beneficial insects including honey bees. And while we are on the subject of vegetable gardens, organically grown cucumber, pumpkin, squash, gourd and water-mellon seed make great gifts for friends with victory gardens, as these plants provide ample food for bees and humans alike. Other bee favorites, including the appropriately named North American native bee balm (Monarda), coneflower (Echinacea), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia) and cat mint (Nepeta), make great flower garden gifts for anyone with a little outdoor space.
For more experienced flower gardeners, heirloom flower seeds are always a good choice – there are many interesting new varieties of biennials available every year, including bee favorites like foxglove (Digitalis), and hollycock (Alcea). If the choices seem daunting, simply request a catalogue from a good company, and enclose a gift certificate.
Great online sources for seed include; Renee’s Garden, Florabunda Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds. Johnny’s Seeds also has a great selection of seeds and an excellent selection of seed starting supplies, including biodegradable starter pots and kits.
Give the gift of life this holiday season – give seeds and encourage gardening in support of honeybees.