19 December 2018

Green gift ideas

The green thing to do is NOT to buy stuff, right - but many of us still want and need to buy gifts for our friends and family. So, what to buy? I have a few ideas that might help with this conundrum, some of which are inspired by lovely gifts I've been given recently.

Cork yoga mat

This was a particularly yummy birthday gift I got this year. I have even used it quite a few times! I reckon keeping your body healthy is one of the most environmentally considerate things you can do. I spotted a lightweight version of this on sale in Kathmandu - a company which I've noticed has really pulled up its environmental socks recently.

Home made bag

Until recently I was of the opinion that you can have too many reusable bags. That's still possible, but I've since realised that these are brilliant for organising your stuff. Rags for cleaning. winter hats you don't want to clog up your drawers with, fabric you'll certainly sew something with one day ... surely ...

Handmade soap

I don't use a lot of cosmetics, but I absolutely love the treat of a handmade soap. I've found these at markets at very reasonable prices, and they aren't scented so strongly as to blow out my nasal passages like some of the pharmacy ones. They smell deliciously right, and I think they're a great way to inject a little bit of luxury into every day.

Little plants

I think I've mentioned I have a slight houseplant obsession, and I particularly love succulents. Any house plant - or a garden centre voucher so your recipient can choose their own - is a special gift for people inclined that way! Palmers have a great selection of pots. I have set myself the challenging of only sourcing mind second hand - but it's a challenge, all right. Good ones don't turn up very often from what I've seen. This one was an old op-shop find.


I planted these Mother of Pearl poppy seeds this year, attracted by the fact that they were selected by an artist. They are indeed little works of art in our garden! I'm fascinated by their delicate colours and designs. They are also popping up in unusual dusky shades of pink and purple.

I also particularly value vegetables that give us food again and again without needing replanting. These things are great for lazy gardeners - and we all have a decent streak of lazy in us.

Garlic chives last for years with no care at all; these red bunching onions look, taste and behave like spring onions except that keep producing more of themselves (we have had the same two patches for about three years, and they just keep on giving); and cavolo nero kale is like a semi-permanent micronutrient tree! We pick and eat its leaves from about May to January (the hot weather ruins it because it gets insects like white fly and white cabbage butterflies). I slice it finely and stir fry it with olive oil, salt and pepper. I'll be sowing fresh seeds in February and covering them carefully with mesh so the first leaves aren't instantly devoured by insect jaws.

I eat these garlic chives nearly every day! In late summer they get aphids, but survive them just fine.

Cavolo nero "trees". The one on the left has some brown spots on its leaves - its last days are upon us.
Kings Seeds and Egmont Seeds have voucher options on their website that could be a good gift. Hopefully they can email them rather than having to post - I'm aware it's too late for that!


A hot New Zealand summer is not the right time to be planting plants. But a garden voucher lets people choose goodies to plant later on. Or you could even give the right recipients a handmade voucher letting them know what plants you'll be passing to them in autumn, when planting time begins.

Last winter a friend gave us some raspberry canes with a bit of root attached. Here's the first of their edible gifts to us. These are mightily delicious.

Years ago I planted a tiny bunch of red alstroemerias bought from a church fair for $2. Shortly afterwards my chickens ate the lot and I thought I'd lost them. But decent chicken fencing meant they sprang back to life, and now I have this semi-permanent display of red South American lilies that look amazing in the vase and last for ages. Every now and then I dig a bit up to give to a friend and spread the love.

I'm also a bit in love with white hydrangeas, especially if they have a tinge of green. I get the feeling they're quite fashionable at the moment. I don't have one, but our local bush has some hydrangeas growing as weeds, which I'm happy to forage to voluptuously fill a vase. I see flowering white hydrangea plants for sale in garden centres and florist displays outside supermarkets.

Ahem - this is not my garden.

Commercial bunches of flowers aren't generally very environmentally friendly - although I'm sure some are - so it's much better (and cheaper) to have your own source, particularly if they involve almost no work!

Just to finish off, here's some gorgeous flowers currently growing in Hamilton's main street - a gorgeous visual gift for anyone walking past. Right next to these flowers will be a market of handmade goodies tomorrow night - I will pop in and just might buy a few more soaps.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...