This year, as always, I have selected a few items that are useful and affordable, and a few others that are decorative and a little bit pricier. If they don’t catch your fancy, I’d also suggest checking out my gift guides from previous years. I don’t repeat items so there are plenty of ideas there including organic seed sets, great gift certificates, tools, the best hose ever (p.s. see their ad at the side for 20% off), and more.
All photos are copyright to their respective shops.
Bogs Ultra High Boots $135: Davin has worn a pair of these over the last few seasons and he loves them (his are olive green). We originally thought they’d make a good spring garden boot, suitable for slogging through the early season muck, but since they are rated down to -40 degrees F, they have turned out to be a warm and durable winter boot as well. He wears them on long winter walks with the dog or days when it’s exceptionally cold and snowy. The handles make it easier to pull them on. Also available in women’s sizes. I hope to upgrade eventually myself as I am still wearing cheaper gardening rain boots that do not do double duty as winter wear.
Each Autumn, big, beautiful Amaryllis bulbs show up in stores alongside spring blooming bulbs. And every year I hesitate, full of guilt about the indulgence at a time when I have so many houseplants to shift indoors for the winter. However, once the snow is settled over the garden and the world has lost its colour, that first bloom is greeted like a miracle unfolding. We watch the developing bud with anticipation and when it opens we circle around it with our cameras, taking in every crumb of colour and life while we can. No summer flower receives such hyper-gleeful fanfare.
Smudge sticks are tightly bound bundles of dried woody, resinous herbs, that are slowly burned as a way to purify and cleanse the air. While the roots of burning a smudge stick, or smudging, is in North American Native purification rites and ceremony, they can be used by anyone to bring the woody smell of the outdoors inside.
If you have a garden, chances are good that you have enough ingredients to make at least one smudge stick. The traditional and most popular herbs used in smudging ceremonies are white sage (Salvia apiana), Cedar (Thuja), Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), sagebrush (Artemisia californica), and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). However, in my travels I have noticed that the smudging sticks available vary by region and there seems to be a lot of opportunity to branch out (so to speak) with other woody, resinous herbs including, but not limited to: Continue reading
Since moving to a house with a basement three years ago, I have been experimenting with hanging whole tomato vines before the frost to ripen indoors. I’ve tried this technique in varying conditions: in a cold, dark basement; in the darker corners of an unheated porch; right up in the windows of the same south-facing unheated porch. I’ve tried it with whole plants: vine, leaves, roots and all, and I’ve tried hanging clusters only. I’ve also tried it with a range of varieties: from those that are considered long-keepers, to large beefsteak types, and tiny currants and cherries. All possible variations that I can think of have been covered.
Yesterday afternoon 20 gorgeous, and very large pumpkins/winter squash arrived on my doorstep courtesy of my friend Uli. She had gone out of her way to purchase many of them from a local farmer to use as Halloween decor, and a few others were given to her for free. Knowing that they would only rot outside, she offered to pass them onto me so that I could use them for taste-testing, cooking, and preserving.
One doesn’t come into a windfall like this very often so while it is probably a little bit crazy, and may very well drive me nuts, I accepted the challenge enthusiastically. Very enthusiastically, in fact. Realistically, I know that I will not be able to deal with this volume of squash in quick order, so some of these will be going off to friends once I’ve had a chance to take photographs and Davin has had some time to draw them.