• David Locke

The Gift of Plants- Share the Love

A neighbor offered for me to dig 20 lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) from his yard. What an amazing gift for a gardener as new plants can bring $25 a piece at a nursery! A master gardener friend of mine gave me a rare plant called a crybaby bush (Erythrina crista-galli) that is one of the most unique cultivars in my borders. Sharing plants is one of the most beautiful things you can do for a garden enthusiast, especially someone with a new garden. Plants given as a gift serve as living reminders of friendship that can live for many decades or longer. Best of all many perennials spread, allowing you to share the love in a few years.



I used the Hellebores in my shrub ramble garden around an armillary sphere that is one of the main focal points of my garden. I mixed them with Coral Bells or Heuchera which offer beautiful purple leaves and small pink flowers on stalks. Hellebores are one of the first plants to bloom in January or February. They are evergreen, love shade and spread. The old folks used to say," the more you share, the more you get".


Sharing Bulbs


Another friend offered many Bearded iris (Iris croatica). Irises make a wonderful gift because they need dividing every three to four years to keep them blooming. So the more you share the more blooms you receive the following spring. If you have an older friend that needs help in the yard offer to come help them dig so you can both share in the bounty. Other friends have been generous with Crinum lillies (Crinum latifolium) this year and many other bulbs that spread and clump together as they grow. Dividing your bulbs every 7-10 years will keep them from getting congested and dying out.



Cuttings


Cuttings also make great gifts. If someone admires one of your plants giving them a cutting is a great way to share the plant without digging up your prized bush. Most plants can be easily rooted from cuttings. Just look up the specific needs for each species online. Another friend of mine gave me tons of Acuba or Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica) which roots in a simple glass of water on the window sill.


Vegetables


Anyone who gardens knows that at some point you will have a glut of vegetables or even flowers. This is the glory of high summer, but who needs a dozen eggplants? Not me! So use your extra veggies to spread friendship and positivity. Take some tomatoes to the neighbor you don't know well. Give some salad greens to the shut-in widow in your church. A long stemmed flower might be just the thing to make a co-workers day or some fresh herbs might inspire your church friend that loves to cook. When I'm on vacation I also invite a friend or two to come pick my garden so nothing goes to waste.


Gardens are about loving life and experiencing the wonder of God's world. In short, share the love!



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