Off The Sofa – December 2017

Here we are at the end of the year again. December is all about finishing. We are finishing school and all the other things we do outside of school. It might be music lessons or a sports team we were a part of. Perhaps a hobby like stamp collecting or dance class. Sometimes your teacher will plan a recital or performance for your families so they can see just how much you have achieved.

Its nice to thank the people who have worked hard all year and very often we want to give a gift. The best gifts are ones that are useful and here are a couple of gift ideas for your teachers, coaches or maybe someone in your neighbourhood.

Baking something will pretty much always be enjoyed. Just one iced cup cake for morning tea will be really appreciated by most people. If you make a batch of biscuits you can wrap them nicely in cellophane bundles. I love receiving plants and you might be surprised what you have in your own garden you can share. My parsley and coriander have seeded down into hundreds of tiny seedlings and I have many I can repot. Herbs like Chamomile, oregano and thyme are creepers, spreading along the ground and sending down roots as they go. Its just a matter of separating some of that out and repotting.  Chives grow as little bulbs in clumps and are easy to separate and repot. Lemon grass is also easy to separate and smells divine.

To make that gift even more special make some name tags out of little sticks with their side scrapped off or even ice block sticks. Decorated nicely with felt tips, they will last a season and decompose naturally. Decorate the pot with a wrap and a big bow made from left over fabric strips.

A bunch of mint complete with roots wrapped in damp tissue like a bouquet makes a great fragrant bunch with or without some flowers and means they can be replanted once home. If you include a lemon or two you have the ingredients base for a lovely hot tea. Write out a recipe as follows… Squeeze half a lemon into a cup. Add some crushed mint leaves and pour over boiling water. Leave to steep before sipping a delicious and refreshing minty tea.   

Another cool idea for gifts is to make some table decorations to give away. Most people are super busy at this time and will appreciate some home made additions to what they have. You can make the frame of a wreath using prunings from a hedge or grapevine. Make the circle and ask an adult to help you tie if you need another pair of hands. The secret to a great table wreath is to not be too big or top heavy and to be balanced, so similar leaves or flowers placed around it. You can practise over and over until you get it just right using what you have in your garden. If you pop in some damp cotton wool around the ends it will stay fresher a little longer. You will see as you practise which plants last well and which wilt fast. Enjoy the endings this year and look forward to a rest and new beginnings next year. Happy holidays everyone!

I’d love to know how things are going in your garden. Email to

Talk soon, Tricia


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