The Art of Giving Gifts of Simple Beauty Nature Provides

If you are having trouble thinking of a gift for someone, consider giving them something you have grown or something they can grow!  Most communities have garden shops and greenhouses that are filled with great plants and accessories.  Here are a few ideas to start you on your way to finding the perfect gift and there are links to help get you on your way too.  Happy gift hunting!


Just as in past generations consider giving your own homegrown canned vegetables or fruits from your garden. Canning is a lost art and will provide you with a unique way to exercise your creativity and a way to preserve your diligent efforts in the garden.

Mixture of sweet and hot peppers
Candied Hot Pepper Relish

Indoor and Outdoor Gardening Ideas

The links below offer more variety of ideas than you can imagine. There are so many great ways you can give thoughtful gifts to people on your list who garden. You will surprise them and they will be very grateful.

Grow Unique, Uncommon and Heirloom Flowers

Learn to Grow

Seeds for Healthy Food


R.H. Shumway’s Gardening Links

Rare Seeds Pure Heirloom Seeds

Hudson Valley Seeds Art Packs

Pinetree Garden Seeds: Bring in the Butterflies Seed Pack

Renee’s Garden to Table Seed Company

Seeds to grow a feast for your table or your eyes

Botanical Interests “Inspire and educate the gardener in you!”

Everything For the Bird Watcher on Your List

If you have a Bird Watcher on your list or you are a Bird Watcher and want to start someone on the path to enjoying watching birds, look no further. There is everything from birdseed, to bird feeders and clothing to bird spotting scopes.

Local Source for Feeders & Seed – Rock Valley Garden Center Rockford IL

Bird Watching HQ – attract cardinals

Bird Nerd Tee

Angled Spotting Scope

Capture images viewed through spotting scope with a smartphone

Amaryllis Plants and Bulbs

The amaryllis originated in South America’s tropical regions and has the botanical name Hippeastrum.  The large flowers and ease with which they can be brought to bloom make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide.  The amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.  There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white. Few bulbs are easier to grow than amaryllis and few bulbs bloom with greater exuberance and beauty. Just plant the bulb in good potting soil, water regularly and provide bright, indirect light. A support stake is handy for keeping the blooms upright, but little else is required. Most varieties will begin blooming six to eight weeks after planting; some can take as long as ten weeks.

Rock Valley Garden Center Rockford IL

Village Green Rockford

Pepper Creek Cherry Valley IL

Gensler Gardens Loves Park IL

O’Fallons Flowers Rockford IL Collections- New-Amaryllis

Amaryllis Lovers

Waxed Amaryllis Bulb

Preparation for Planting – The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours.  Remember, if you cannot plant the bulbs immediately after receiving them, store them at a cool temperature between 40-50 degrees F.

            Planting – Plant bulbs in a nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed.  Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots.  Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.

            Placement and Watering – Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems.  The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F.  Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.  At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth.

            Flowering Period – Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.  In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring.  Set up your planting schedule between October and April with this in mind.  To achieve continuous bloom, plant at intervals of 2 weeks for stunning color in your home or garden.

            After-Flowering. After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.

Leaf Growth and Development. Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil.

Bulb Storage. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (40-50 deg. F), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. Caution: Do not store amaryllis bulbs in a refrigerator that contains apples, this will sterilize the bulbs. Store the bulbs for a minimum of 6 weeks.

Plant Again. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

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