Garden Gifts for the Season

By Heidi Bornhorst

One of the best gifts to others is our time.  Time helping or encouraging someone in their garden.

So many Kupuna love to garden but may have a hard time with tasks like lawn mowing and weeding or Pruning and debris removal.  Why not offer this loving kokua to someone in your Ohana, or an elderly neighbor who is getting to an age, or state of fragility that some hana Hau`oli, happy work, would give them a lift !?

We have a neighbor who is a widow who loves her home and garden, but I hear her concerns. She is so happy and relieved when the weed eater crew shows up.  Her family is large, but they don’t seem to know how to run the lawn mower.  Hint hint

Sharing produce from our gardens is another free and generous gift to share.  Just pick it, wash it and maybe wrap it up in a basket with some colorful ribbons, and garden greenery.  Awesome gift and Holiday décor too.

If you’re still OK financially, support one of our local garden shops and go shopping!   Buy some pretty flowering plants, orchids, herbs or vege starters. Seeds or Bulbs like Narcissus, or Amaryllis or Caladiums  an exciting gift for gardeners !

Potting mix (I always look for the locally crafted ones) is always welcome, and even offer a little muscle if some plant of theirs needs re-potting into a larger or decorative (or heavy) pot. Cinder to mix with the potting soil makes a great soil for plants or to top dress and beautify their garden. (Cinder repels slugs too)

High quality garden clippers, a new sharp handsaw, or an extendable grip pruner, great gifts ! a decent pair of gloves, a bit waterproof or with finger grips. 

The Electric battery-operated lawn mowers and string trimmers are an improved technology that is quite epic!  We tested one for my Father in law’s lawn and it had so many plusses!  It was QUIET! So, we could mow early while its cool and not disturb the neighbors.  The battery was a bit heavy, but it held a charge for at least three mowings (and he a had a big yard with St. Augustine grass, so that was a good test !)  Not having to mess with or purchase gas and oil is another major plus.  Its also great for our environment !

String trimmers are next on my list, battery operated, quiet and again no smelly, spillable gas and oil to deal with. 

The electric lawn mowers are also easy to start; just the push of a button.  Amazing ! and what a thoughtful and akamai gift !

Locally grown Christmas trees :

I love the smell of the mainland trees BUT so many pests!  Nasty insects, wasps, slugs, murder hornets and even snakes can hide and ride aboard a tree and get established in Hawaii.  

Give a growing plant, like a Cook pine in a pot.  These grow well and even make good houseplants.

Buy a tree from a local tree nursery like Helemano farms.  They have Cook pines, and some of the more fragrant trees like Murray and Leland Cypress and Carolina Sapphire trees.   My sister Mimi Bornhorst Gaddis Loved the Norfolk pine wreath. She reminded me to tell folks to go up, enjoy the day and give a nice tip to the tree cutters and loaders, all hired from the community for the holidays.

Mimi loves the open branch structure of a Norfolk,  as she says ‘they so nicely showcase my precious heritage ornaments’.  Plus, it’s what we grew up with.

Our neighbors the Osorio ohana recently moved up to Wahiawa, and Mary is finding all the kewl things about that lovely upland town.  They went to Helemano Farms too as a family, for a  fun and safe Covid outing and this is what she said:

‘Absolutely in love with our big and beautiful tree. The first fresh one we’ve had in a while and it’s Super Fresh because it was grown right here in our town of Wahiawa. Who knew there was a Christmas tree farm here?! Last week the girls and I had fun picking it out and today it came into the house. We’re trying to figure out how to mitigate the risk of the (newly adopted) destructive dog. Really looking forward to decorating it.’

Just love supporting local family businesses!

The Osorios got a Cypress tree; they chose the greener one says Osorio. (One type has more greyish needles, and one is greener and Brighter)

`A young Hawaiian man helped us get the tree secured to the van, they were so Delightful and Eager to help us.  They come and cut it exactly the size you want and make sure its safely loaded.  There were lots of young local boys, happy and eager to kokua.’

More farms are growing Christmas trees on the Neighbor islands too.  This is a great thing for us to support and perpetuate. Grow and buy local, support each other and keep alien pest species OUT.

You can check the website for Helemano Farms in advance to see what various sizes and varieties will cost.

As Mary Osorio said, ‘The cost was comparable to the shipped in kind.  We’ve paid $120 in the past for a big, imported one.  This tree that we love so much cost $90.  Just so folks know….. ‘



Pic by Mary Osorio:
Lehuanani and Hali`a Osorio with kolohe rescue Dog, Ho`aka, in a field of home-grown holiday trees. An Anuenue or rainbow points to the most Golden of Local grown trees !


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