Save a fortune with homemade gardening gifts

Published: Mon 8 Dec 2008 12:24 PM
Save a fortune this Christmas with homemade gardening gifts
There’s no doubt the country is experiencing an economic downturn and, with Christmas on the way, many Kiwis could get in over their heads buying presents.
Awapuni gardening guru, Tod Palenski, says the solution is to invest time and creativity not cash into gift giving this year.
“Christmas is about showing friends and family that you love them, and nothing says that better than giving them something you’ve made yourself.”
Tod says last year his children have made inexpensive gifts for their grandparents by painting terracotta pots and planting them with seedlings.
“Teracotta pots are very economical, and if you paint them with testpots you’ll create a waterproof seal which helps prevent the pot and the soil from drying out.
When your budding Picassos have finished and their masterpieces have had a chance to dry (and the kids have cleaned themselves up), Tod recommends filling them with a quality potting mix containing a slow-release fertiliser.
“A slow-release fertiliser will feed the plants for up to four months and will ensure the best growth possible.”
The final step is the fun bit – choosing and planting seedlings. If you can’t face braving the maddening crowds at the supermarket, Awapuni has the solution –online shopping. Their entire range is available on their website ( and can be delivered to your door in a matter of days.
“Choosing what to plant is probably the hardest part, but the key is to think about the recipient and what they’ll like the most.”
For girly-girls, grandmas and older aunts, Tod recommends pretty, traditional seedlings, like Awapuni’s portulacca, impatiens and petunias.
“Aspiring cooks and foodies will appreciate a mini garden of herbs, planted in a large square or rectangle pot, which they can use in their gourmet creations. Basil, coriander, parsley and mint all grow well in pots – and you could even throw in a few cherry tomato plants.”
For friends and family who like to make a statement, pots painted gold or silver with seedlings of bright redskin dahlias, dwarf asters and lobelia make a dramatic statement, and look great as a Christmas table centrepiece.
To plant the seedlings, poke a hole in the soil with your finger and gently place a seedling in.
“Awapuni’s Pop’n’Grow range makes this easy because each seedling has its own individual root system, so you don’t break the delicate roots separating each plant. They’re child’s play to plant and grow!”
Tod’s top tip this Christmas is to make the gifts as close to the big day as possible, so they’re fresh and lively looking.
“Wrap them in foil wrapping paper or cellophane so the wrapping doesn’t get soggy, and take care not to over-water them.”
“This Christmas, spend some time, not a fortune on your presents,” says Tod.
“Friends and family will appreciate the effort you’ve put in and they’ll have a gift that lasts. Besides, anything’s better than another pair of socks or packet of scorched almonds!”

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