Make Homemade Christmas Gifts From Your Garden

Make homemade Christmas gifts from your garden. How to save money and perpetuate natural gift-giving, includes instructions on how to make maize decorations, dried-flower straw hats, dried wreaths and garlic braids.

| September/October 1988

  • Garlic braiding 1
    Garlic Braiding STEP 1: Lay two bulbs down so their stems cross, and then set a third on top in the middle, with its stem running down between the other two.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Garlic braiding 2
    Garlic Braiding STEP 2: Now lay a fourth bulb on top, parallel to bulb number 1 in the drawing.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • 113-070-01m2
    When this year's holidays arrive, share these lovely homemade keepsakes.
    PHOTO: KEN FORESGREN
  • Garlic braiding 3
    Garlic Braiding STEP 3: Grab the stems of bulbs 1 and 4, lift them together, and lay them in the middle.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Garlic braiding 5
    Garlic Braiding STEP 5: Braid bulbs 2 and 5 up and over into the middle.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Garlic braiding 4
    Garlic Braiding STEP 4: Take a fifth bulb, lay it on top and parallel to bulb number 2 (the other of the original crossing bulbs).
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Garlic braiding 7
    Garlic Braiding STEP 7: Braid the stems of 6 and 3 over and into the middle. You should now have a six-bulb braid, with two garlic heads on each side and two on top. From here on, beginning by laying a seventh bulb on top of the pile and parallel to the 1-plus-4 pair, you'll repeat the steps you used to add bulbs 4, 5 and 6, until you've finished the braid.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD
  • Garlic braiding 6
    Garlic Braiding STEP 6: Take a sixth bulb, and place it so its head sits just under the head of bulb number 3, while its stem lays parallet to 3's stem.
    KAY HOLMES STAFFORD

  • Garlic braiding 1
  • Garlic braiding 2
  • 113-070-01m2
  • Garlic braiding 3
  • Garlic braiding 5
  • Garlic braiding 4
  • Garlic braiding 7
  • Garlic braiding 6

How to save money and perpetuate natural gift-giving by making homemade Christmas gifts from your garden. Includes instructions for maize decorations, dried-flower straw hats, dried wreaths and garlic braiding by the numbers. (See the garlic braiding illustrations in the image gallery.)

Make Homemade Christmas Gifts From Your Garden

THE SURPRISING NIP OF a morning chill, the first fallen leaves and yellowed vines, the subtle shortening of evening light-all are phrases in nature's announcement of the end of the season. While harvesting still-thriving tomatoes and bouquets, the home grower heeds the message—knows that fresh flowers and fruits will soon be things of the past and yearns to save a few mementos of garden life to warm the long winter months ahead.

It can be done. Simple yet striking garlic braids...decorative wreaths bursting with colorful dried flowers...harvest-symbol corn hangings...and straw hats gaily decked with blooms are four souvenirs of summer that you can put together easily at home. These craft creations can brighten your winter hearth or be given away as presents. (They can also be sold to bring in a little extra pre-holiday income.) And you can gather virtually all the materials you need from your own garden or by foraging from nearby fields or lots to make your homemade Christmas gifts.

Olivia Abel and Susan Sides, MOTHER's gardeners past and present, have made these growers' gifts every fall for years. With their help, and that of Kathy Askew (a local craftswoman whose dried flower wreaths are shown in the photograph), we'll share the secrets that will make your own garden as "giftworthy" as theirs.



Maize Decorations  

Hung at the doorway or inside the home, ornamental dried corn clusters are signs of harvest fertility—preserved tributes to the fields and garden. The traditional ornaments bespeak a household grateful for nature's bounty.






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