Gifts for Gardeners: Botanical Art

– Posted in: Miscellaneous
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Many gardeners want to pick out their own tools, but appreciate a thing of beauty that reminds them why they garden in the first place. So why not check out the following? Many of these beauty-makers are bloggers as well.

Image of pressed violas on handmade paperI first came across Elizabeth’s Flowers–the blog–which led me to her store of the same name. Almost all of her items for sale involved pressed flowers. They are framed as art, featured on greeting cards, and even adorn luminaries. Flower presses and paper making kits are also available.

Saxon Holt, one of the bloggers at Gardening Gone Wild, sells two different calendars with choice photographic images. One features fruits and vegetables, the other, stylish gardens, with plenty of room to write in your dates and appointments. Please let him know you heard about it from me in the message box of his checkout page, and I will get a little gift of my own. While you’re there, take a look at his fine art prints. Jaw-dropping gorgeous!

Maybe you’d like to make something yourself. Mo Gilmer, garden blogger and prolific garden writer, has assembled a collection of botanical art for your use, as well as an ebook on using these images in crafts. There’s plenty here to inspire you!

I have been a fan of Mary Azarian’s woodcuts since the first Cook’s Garden catalog arrived in my mailbox. Her gorgeous prints reflect the heart of a gardener and the spirit of New England, but don’t forget about her children’s books, many of which address unusual topics.

While we’re on the subject of children’s books, did you know that The Secret Garden now comes in an annotated edition? I haven’t read the book myself, but the notes are written by Burnett’s biographer, and illustrations from all major editions of the novel are included. So far it’s gotten one positive and one negative review on Amazon.

Image of collection of handmade soapsCold Climate Gardening contributor Judy Miller makes soaps, creams, and perfumes–an entirely different kind of botanical art. As Judy relates, “I am more and more delving into infusing the soap oils with herbs and botanicals from the garden, for both scent and skin care–and in using herb teas for the water phase. Gives some nice scent and even a tad of color. I infused many things this summer and fall for winter soapmaking–lavender from different scented plants, chamomile, roses, fir needles, lemon grass, lemon eucalyptus, sweet grass, etc. It makes the soapmaking process a bit slower, but it really adds a nice depth to the scent, and is nice to add things from the garden that are good for the skin. Then, I got some really ‘killer’ rose wax, and have been making creams and a rather lovely rose soap; and that led to orange flower wax (byproduct of Neroli production) perfume and cream, tuberose cream. . . plus a nice peppermint cream for tired feet. Plus the chef’s soap has ground rosemary & rosemary infused oil from my housepet rosemary plants. I kept a bar of that for myself, it smells so nice.” She also makes catnip fish (kitty aromatherapy!) and notecards with images from her garden.

Image of acrylic painting of a Painted TrilliumTwo and a half years ago my daughter gave me a painting of one of the rarer trilliums, Trillium undulatum, which she rendered in acrylic, working from a photograph. We are now offering various decorative items enhanced with her artwork in the Cold Climate Gardening Store. I’m also creating a collection featuring garden quotes, and you diehard Cold Climate Gardening fans (hi, Mom!) will find some items to express your loyalty.

Other Botanical Blogs

These don’t appear to be selling artwork, but they are still beautiful to look at:

Photo of pressed flowers courtesy Elizabeth’s Flowers. Photo of soaps courtesy Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

Comments on this entry are closed.

lisa January 2, 2008, 3:39 pm

Great ideas! Here’s another one Ive always wanted to try; flower pounding. I cannot take credit for this idea of course, but I’d seen an article in a magazine years ago and never tried it. Next summer for sure!

Chris December 15, 2007, 6:31 am

Kathy- thanks for the mention. No artwork yet- but I do have some apparel/t shirts with botanical/gardening graphics.

Carol December 13, 2007, 10:15 pm

I agree, great ideas. I like all things gardening, all the time. Drives my family nuts when it comes to getting me gifts. “Wouldn’t you like a nice sweater or something?” No thanks! I want something for the garden or gardening related.

Diane M. Schuller December 13, 2007, 11:09 am

Lovely ideas and recommendations. Btw, I highly recommend reading The Secret Garden (the non-annotated version) — it’s a delightful read (yes, even for us adults). For nearly 6 years we buy and use only pure botanical, homemade soaps. It’s great to see your recommendation for another source (and a gardener to boot!).

I posted the other day about Christmas cards that can be planted afterwards and ever since have thought of doing something like you’ve done here — great ideas and thank you!

Diane, Sand to Glass