By Stephanie Cavanaugh
IT’S THAT TIME of year again: Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa gifts for family and friends, gifts for Secret Santas, host/ess gifts, and birthday gifts for those unfortunate enough to have had parents who enjoyed a little April romance.
Make life simpler and dig into plants. Check out our grab bag of flower and flower-adjacent gifts, some high-priced, some low. And for when the wallet dries up, a few treats for yourself that cost nothing at all.
If you’re looking for a more-expensive way to do something that should be free, look no further than the acorn vases at Ilex Studio. For about $45 you get a prettily colored, squat vase, with a top lip that can balance an acorn. Supply your own acorn.
Yes, you can grow an oak tree in water. Just have a little patience. There’s something so zen about this, isn’t there, watching an oak grow from an acorn, little rooties dangling in water, a tender stem poking forth. Sit calmly for 40 years or so and you’ll really have something.
Ilex also has a wider-mouthed version designed for avocado pits, which you can also grow in a juice glass, which you probably already own. Stick four toothpicks midway around the pit and balance it on the rim. If you don’t count the cost of the avocado, which I trust you’ve eaten, the cost is nothing. (You also might live long enough to see an avocado tree).
For those who find over-the-top is never quite high enough, Versace offers their Smoking Venini Versace Vase, in black-and-white blown glass and what I certainly hope is 24k gold trim for $5,600 (though it just says “golden,” hmmm). There’s about enough room at the neck to rest an acorn (see above) or, perhaps, a single stem of the Gold of Kinabalu Orchid, the world’s rarest orchid, which will set you back an additional $5,000 to $6,000 on the black market, for which Google couldn’t locate a link.
Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s has the perfect little glass vases for pits and bulbs. They come already stocked with a paperwhite narcissus for $3.50—and you have a reusable vase. The bulbs alone run around a buck and a half at Ace Hardware, but if you wait until after Christmas you can always find them at half off. Your nose will thank you in January.
Speaking of TJ’s, there are wreaths in pots for $15, including the fairy lights. If that’s not a snatch-and-grab holiday gift for the impossible-to-buy-for I don’t know what is. They also have poinsettias and Christmas cactus, and cyclamen, all in pots and perfectly giftable. Pick up a bottle of wine to go along, and . . .
Right. Bottles. For those who fret about their indoor plants when they swoop off to Bali or somesuch for a winter break, Besti makes rather attractive (but why would they care, if they’re not there) glass watering bulbs, in swirling colors that resemble Murano glass. Fill with water, upend, jab into soil. The water slowly seeps into the pot, keeping the plants from drying out. Six for $34.95 at Amazon.
You can of course take an empty wine bottle, fill it with water, and upend it in a pot. It will do exactly the same thing for nothing, if you discount the price of the wine which presumably you’ve already enjoyed.
They say never bring a host or hostess a bunch of loose flowers, which are always in need of an immediate home, which is just what your host/ess is not of a mind to do at This Precise Second thankyouverymuch. If you’re bringing flowers, better stick them in something.
If you’re gifting a snob (or snob-adjacent), pick a vase (or anything, really) with the MoMA stamp of approval and you can’t go wrong. Consider an amusing Crinkled Bag Vase, fashioned in white porcelain, designed by Makoto Komatsu, and featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection for $125.
Prefer cheap and amusing? Amazon has you covered. For 10 bucks, snap up a Modgy Vase in one of their Tiffany knock-off patterns. Plastic, foldable, and they hold water—perfect for toting a posy. For the modernist, BLOFLO offers a set of SIX collapsible vases, in very cool geometric designs for $16.
Egg Nog pause. Next week, the Gift of Gardening Tools.