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  • Writer's pictureEmma Duncan

Give a living creation this Christmas

Updated: Dec 10, 2021


4BC Radio 882- Afternoons with Sofie Formica,

"Ask the Experts" Gardening Segment, Fri 10 Dec 2021

Plants make truly wonderful gifts and there is such a wide range of options that you will find something wonderful for the most individual, unique or even zany of recipients.

For those with a yard or more space, fruit and feature trees are a gift that keep on giving. For those without the luxury of a garden or living in a unit or apartment, potted and hanging plants are ideal. For those with only a very sunny window, a selection of garden herbs to cook with and enjoy is wonderful. Or maybe a fabulous indoor plant or terrarium. There really are so many ideas to choose from.


Give some thought to where your gift will live and choose accordingly. You may love succulents, but "Aunty Jo's" balcony is very shaded and it just won't thrive! In this situation a lower light, indoor plant would be ideal. Take the time to find the right plant for the right person... after all that's also how you show love, in the care you take to make just the right section for them.

Speak to the staff at the Garden Centre. Tell them who and where the gift is intended for and ask "do you think I have made the best selection?" They will be only too happy to support you in your selection or suggest an even better alternative.

"Deconstructed" arrangements

To really ignite the gardening passion in your nearest and dearest, think about giving them a "deconstructed" gift. This is as simple as giving a gift voucher for a workshop where they can take the time to create their own masterpieces. Or give them a Kit! So many garden gifts can be purchased in this "deconstructed" way. Its better than Lego! Sorry to my husband for such a dreadful suggestion. Terrariums, Kokedamas and succulents can all come as kits. You select the container, plants and even the mulch or decorative gravel. You give the gift and your recipient gets the joy of creating their living masterpiece. And as they do this they learn so much more about their gift and gardening.

HINT: Most nurseries offer a "potting up service" for little to no money at all. You can make your gift completely unique by selecting the plant/s, the container and even the gravel or decorative mulch and the query worker will pot it up for you. Nursery staff will also create a "deconstructed" collection for you for anything that you're after - all you need to do is ask.

Here are some wonderful suggestions for living gifts... stunning arrangements, "deconstructed" kits and workshop experiences...

Terrarium, Kits, Workshops

• Living Christmas trees

• Bonsai, Kits, Workshops

• Potted and hanging colour kalanchoe, hydrangeas and bouganvilleas

• Living wreaths, Kits, Workshops

• Orchids

• Indoor plants

• Fruit, chillies and herbs

• Succulent and cactus

• Living sculptures

• Kokedama, Kits, Workshops

• Bonsai and terrarium tool kits


Miniature landscapes and wonderlands, terrariums are a truly unique and perfect creations. Yes! I love terrariums. They are so different and so amazing. A self contained environment that changes through the day - it even rains in your tiny landscape each day.

Terrariums+ are a self contained glass vessel with a lid, within which you can create a mini landscape of your choice. Any glass vessel with a lid can be used (without a lid it is simply a glass pot), you can purchase them for as little as $8+, but remember when giving as a gift choose a container that you can fit your hand into as it makes creating your landscape much easier. You may even have the ideal container at home.

You can select a complete terrarium kit that includes all the workings of a terrarium - such as drainage gravel, charcoal , sphagnum moss and potting soil ($10)+ - this is suitable for a small to medium sized terrarium. Choose a few plants starting from as little as $2.50 for ferns or from the 'Babies collection" @ $5 each+. When choosing plants less is best for smaller containers, so choosing between 2 or 3 plants will do the job. Some decorative pieces such as timber, pebbles, moss and small figurines finish the masterpiece. So you see that for as little as $25.50 (Jar, small kit and 3 plants)+ you will be giving a totally uniques and personalised gift. A medium gift being closer to $60+, depending upon your selections and container choice.

Living Christmas Trees

Who needs a plastic tree when a living one smells so good! There are a variety of species that make brilliant Christmas trees. After the big event, plant them up in a pot and they'll flourish for the next 12 months. Next year they'll be even more magnificent - from $55 to $350*

Fruit Trees, Herbs and Vegetables

Fruit trees, herbs and vegetables are always wonderful gifts, literally the gifts that keep giving!

You can find a size and species that will grow beautifully in your yard, on your patio or balcony. There are a multitude of options from balcony vegetable trellises, to hanging baskets and wall gardens. There really are options for everyone.

Olives trees, available in 5 sizes, from $39.95#

Standard Cumquot Trees, in numerous sizes, from $299#

HINT: Select something that you already love or enjoy. It's wonderful that you would like to get the family to eat more brussel sprouts, but honestly! A potted blueberry bush will have fruit stolen from it the minute they are ripe and cherry tomatoes will be eaten as snacks on the way to the car. Concentrate on what you like BEFORE you branch out.

Gardening tool

Gardening tools of any size make your time gardening easier and more enjoyable. These miniature bonsai and terrarium maintenance tools are a wonderful gift. This

set of 3 are only $8.50*.


Another idea is a Kokedama or moss ball. You can display and care for any number of plants in a Kokedama. A really beautiful gifts. Kokedama kits+ are $22+, choose a plant and a kit and you are away, everything you require to create an amazing and interesting piece for your home. The kits will create a small to medium sized Kokedama so choosing a plant is simple and there are almost endless varieties from as little as $9+.

Botanical Wreath

Botanical wreath Kits are also available $32+, these kits let you create a living wreath to hang all year round in your home, patio or verandah. Either purchase some epiphytes, such as hoyas (from $13), orchids(from $18), tillandsia (from$8) (airplants) or take some cuttings from friends and family and away you go The same principal can also be applied to create botanical sculptures with drift wood and rocks etc.+


Kalanchoe are so much better than a bunch of flowers in so many ways. Drought tolerant, vivid and beautiful they make a stunning table centre, potted plant that can be brought inside for a pop of colour or planted up in any rockery or garden bed.

Potted and Hanging Colour

From the vibrancy of hydrangeas to the amazing colours palette of bougainvilleas and every species in between. Potted colour whether it be in baskets, pots or troughs, or planted straight into a garden bed give such joy and vibrancy to a home... whatever form that takes.

Starting from $39.95#, there is an amazing selection to choose from .

All images and details are courtesy of :

Mappins Nursery & Aquarium + | Ross Evans Garden Centres # | Oxley Nursery *

Without sponsorship or monetary inducement.

They are just fabulous nurseries that I love and really want you to share with you.

Mappins Nursery & Aquarium + 240 Montague Rd, West End QLD 4101

Kenmore • Morningside • Gold Coast # 2274 Moggill Road, Kenmore Q 4069

174 Dowding St Oxley 4075*

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