Over the past couple of years, living gifts have been increasing in popularity; and it’s not just green thumbs that like to have veggie gardens and indoor house plants! More and more Australians are connecting with nature and bringing it into their living and office spaces. Recent research has shown the benefits of spending time in natural environments including better concentration, improved physical, mental health and wellbeing.

This Christmas, instead of purchasing a bunch of flowers for the host of the Christmas functions that you attend, why not consider gifting a plant that they can continue to enjoy for months and years to come! When Katie and I first discussed putting together the Reframing Waste Advent Calendar, I was so excited to be sharing my passion for growing things.

Day 8 is going to provide you with a range of beautiful and living gift ideas using techniques like plant propagation, tips around building terrariums, how to make seed bombs and locations for you to check out local gardens and nurseries that have amazing plant ranges!  

Living Gift Ideas:

1. Plant Propagation

Techniques like plant propagation can sound intimidating if you’re not super into gardening. The great thing is though is that once you master this concept, you can readily create low-cost presents! It’s a little embarrassing, whenever I go somewhere if I see a plant that I like I ask for a cutting, my friends have gotten used to me poking around their houseplants and gardens. All you need from there are some pots and quality soil and you’ve created a gift for less than $5!

Here’s a sample of some of the goodies that I’ve created:

Some rules of thumb for propagation are neatly summarised by Gardening Australia in two videos, the first one is for indoor house plants:

Whilst this second one by Jerry Coleby-Williams from Series 29 – Episode 25 covers techniques for outdoor and vegetable garden plants.

Not sure what you’re looking at? There’s a great citizen science plant identification and diversity app that you can download to your smartphone called Pl@ntNet. I’ve been using this if I’ve found something that I like the look of but am not sure what it is or how to propagate it.

2. Terrariums

Terrariums have been pretty trendy in the houseplant world for some time and there are a lot of great resources available for you to make one of these creations this Christmas! In a similar style to plant propagation these can be put together as a low-cost gift, all you need is a container, appropriate growing media for your plants, plants and any decorations that you’d like to include.

When I was first getting into indoor house plants, I grabbed a Fittonia (Nerve Plant) that looked really striking that I thought would be a great feature plant. I didn’t realise that it was actually a high humidity, tropical rainforest environment plant until it started looking a little worse for wear and did some Googling. I found a sealable dome jar for $5, already had some soil mix, pebbles and seashells that I collected at the beach and made myself a terrarium!

Here’s a collection of some impressive terrariums that I’ve admired online and associated tutorials for you to check out:

3. Seed bombs

When you grow plants from seeds, before they germinate, they are vulnerable to insects and if you get too excited and overwater could end up rotting. A way around these issues is to create seed bombs, which are made out of clay and compost to provide a protective barrier, which slowly breaks down and allows the germinated plant to easily pass through. You can get creative and make up seed bombs mixes for different purposes, for example a mix that encourage bees to your garden with a mixture of beneficial flowers. To give these as a gift, after making up the seed bombs you can pop them in a jar from your recycling bin and jazz it up with some homemade decorations!

Locations to source living gifts

Love the sound of these ideas but you’re running a bit low on time to try it out? Never fear, we’ve taken to the streets in West End to highlight some great places close to the Brisbane CBD to source plants of all kinds, gift packs and terrariums that have been already masterfully created!

Jane Street Community Garden

Jane Street Community Garden is a West End icon. The garden has been a part of the community for over 15 years and is a beautiful example of a permaculture space in Brisbane. I regularly volunteer at this garden and have had the opportunity to learn a lot of the techniques that we discussed above!

We regularly propagate existing established plants in the garden and have these plants available for purchase to support future work at the gardens. Special thanks to Beau at the Green Grocer on Boundary Street in West End, for letting us have a permanent cart at the shop-front with a seasonal selection of goodies which we regularly update during the week!

Upcoming plant sale

On a monthly basis, Jane Street Community Garden volunteers will host a Plant Sale with an extensive range of medicinal, edible herbs, seedlings of vegetables and companion plants. For Christmas, the next plant sale is on the 14th December from 8:30am – 11:30am at the Hope on Boundary Street Café, People’s Market hope to see you there!

Mappins

Mappins is an incredible one-stop shop for all of your plant needs on 240 Montague Road, West End! They have an extensive range for all interests from veggie gardens and herbs, to aquatics, succulents and indoor house plants, terrarium supplies and more!

Mappins is located on 240 Montague Road, just down from the City Glider – 60 stop and has customer parking available.

Darryl and the team will happily help you out to find the right kind of plants to suit your living spaces and needs. They are incredible plant whisperers and extremely knowledgeable, when I was visiting the store for this feature post, a guy was having a lot of trouble with his chilli bush and they provided some great tips to revitalise this sad looking plant.

Also, if you are looking for supplies to re-pot and update your pot-plants to match your interior décor, they have a selection of pots available for purchase.

Upcoming workshops:

Mappins regularly hosts workshops across different topics, here are two photographs of upcoming workshops that they have over the holiday period with MJC Botanical and Mikiko Inoue from Kent Florist, with a full extensive list provided on their Facebook events page and website.

All the Green Things:

All the Green Things are a gorgeous addition to the West End plant scene, with their shop located near Sol Breads and the West End State School on 27 Vulture Street. They specialise in indoor, balcony and courtyard plants for urban living spaces.

All The Green Things shop front on 240 Vulture Street, West End near the 199 Bus stop for Hardgrave Road restaurants.

Their mission is to enable everyone to experience the joys of growing plants and they’re keen to provide ongoing support and advice for your gardening journey.  All the Green Things support local and upcoming designer brands for all your interior decorating accessories for your household and plant spaces.

If you’re looking at hosting an event and you’d like to opt for living plants rather than flower arrangements, speak to the team at All the Green Things as they offer plant and interior design hire services.

Upcoming workshops:

Workshops at All the Green Things are hosted by Botanicals by Bella and cover a huge range of topics, by checking out the All The Green Things Facebook or website for the current options offered in the West End store. For this Christmas holiday season, they have the following ticket offerings and workshop-gift vouchers:

https://botanicalsbybella.com/workshop-tickets

Share with us!

Today’s feature image is one I took at Mappins on Thursday this week. They have succulent cuttings available on a regular basis for 70c each and depending on availability and season indoor plant cuttings, just be sure to ask when you stop in to see if they have any in-stock.

We hope you’ve grown your knowledge base about ways you can Reframe your Christmas! Let us know of other beautiful nurseries and community gardens that have some great options for plants to pick up or workshops that are occurring over this Christmas season!

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