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Gifts From Your Backyard Garden Sense

Gifts From Your Backyard

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Time and money are tight for many of us this time of year. So in order to help with the Holiday crunch for presents and decorating, consider these thoughtful gifts you might already have in your backyard.

Trim excess branches from your Christmas tree and use them to make a swag. You can bind the branches with a coat hanger wire and decorate with a ribbon.

Branches can also be added to empty window boxes and decorated for a festive look. Use pine cones, extra ribbon bows and tree decorations such as birds to accent boughs.

Pinecones from your yard (or your neighbors) make unusual gifts.

  • Decorate with glue and glitter and insert an ornament hook for a great tree decoration.
  • Make a bird feeder by attaching an ornament hook, spread peanut butter on a pinecone and dip in birdseed. Freeze or refrigerate until gift giving time. Treat as a perishable gift.


It’s not too late to make potpourri gifts. Bottles from flea markets make excellent decanters for display. You can also use old jelly, mayonnaise or pasta sauce jars.
Make a pomander by cutting a 4-inch square of muslin and fill with your favorite scents. Gather and tie with a colorful ribbon.


Everyone has their favorite seasoning combos. Some like hot and spicy; others like herbs or tangy. What do you do? Fill a pepper mill with peppercorns and their favorite seasoning. Italian, salty, tangy, ginger or what ever they love. This way they can season their plate without offending the cook! If a pepper mill is out of the question, use ground pepper and spices in an empty plastic seasoning container with a shaker lid.

You can also make soup and stew garni by filling a 4-inch square of muslin or cheesecloth with your favorite dried herb combo and securing with a string. These can be added to the hot dish while cooking and removed before serving.


Create a “fragrance toss” for your friends with fireplaces. Bind a few prunings with wire from apple, cherry or other fragrant wood to “toss” onto a roaring fire for a rewarding fragrance.

Enjoy the season knowing you found the perfect gifts for everyone on your list in your own backyard!

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About the author

Cindy's Recipes and Writings

As a professional cook, I love creating exciting new recipes on the job as well as at home. Assisting in teaching low-income families how to buy, store and prepare healthy food through Penn State’s alliance with Pennsylvania’s Supercupboard Program was very rewarding. During my 11 years with the Master Gardener program, I taught horticultural therapy to assisted living patients using healthful, fr
esh grown food as a focal point. . My hands-on programs and instruction helped hundreds of children and adults learn about where their food comes from and how important fresh food is for your body.
Currently I’m a cook at a college in Pennsylvania. We prepare everything we can from scratch, including our potato chips that tout the seasoning of the day!
Of course I write about food; it's in my blood!

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