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How to Make a Garden Starter Kit For a Friend

Updated on March 29, 2014
A gardening starter kit for a friend. This time in a hanging basket for growing cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes love hanging basking toamtoes.
A gardening starter kit for a friend. This time in a hanging basket for growing cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes love hanging basking toamtoes. | Source

How to Make a Garden Starter Kit

Flowers and plants always make great gifts but if you have a friend who is just getting into garden, it might be a nice idea to give them a plant starter kit.

I have given many of my friends garden starter kits, and to be honest they have never failed to delight. First of all it is a very personal gift, and it is always appreciated.

It is also the gift which will keep on giving year after year as hopefully plants should last and the seeds should start sprouting.

However sometimes I wonder if I get more a kick out of the starter kits than my friends.

I love it when I get dragged into a friend’s garden and they show me the plants which they have grown.

Pinks are both scented and pretty
Pinks are both scented and pretty | Source

Things to Consider Before You Start Putting Your Kit Together

There are a few things you need to consider when putting together a garden starter kit for you friend. Not all of us are naturally green fingered and some might need some extra help. These are my top tips for putting together a successful starter kit.

  • Age - Older friends might prefer different plants to younger friends.
  • Time - How much time does your friend have to look after plants. Someone working full time might have less time to look after a garden.
  • Indoor or outdoor – Make your gift flexible. Include some indoor and outdoor plants. If you know the person only is interested in house plants pack it full with ideas for indoor plants.
  • Hot or cold – I live in a rather warm climate so it is important plants are tolerant to heat and to minimize the need for water.
  • Advice – All new gardeners appreciate a bit of advice so make up an advice leaflet on the plants or seeds in the kit.
  • Don’t forget children – they love receiving garden starter kits.

Carol's garden in Florida
Carol's garden in Florida | Source

How Much Does a Kit Cost?

Kits do not have to cost a fortune. As a matter of fact, I find that the simpler a kit is the more it is appreciated. I have learned through out the years that the advice leaflet is perhaps the most popular part of the plant starter kit, and I am still finding it on my friend’s coffee tables.

It is nice to be able to go out and buy plants but your own home grown plants are much more appreciated. Most keen gardeners do have a surplus of plants, and my friend Carol from DunedinFlorida always has a surplus in her garden. As a matter of fact, Carol grows so many plants she is now has plant sales. It is funny to think that Carol never used to be into gardening.

My friend Carol's wonderful lillies
My friend Carol's wonderful lillies | Source

Garden Starter Kits

Would you like to receive a garden starter kit as a present?

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Ideas for Your Garden Starter Kit

A garden starter kit can be whatever you like to make it. Your friend may already have gardening tools. Here is a selection of things I always put in a kit for my friends.

  • Small spade
  • Watering can
  • Seed packets – some vegetable seeds and flower seeds
  • Plants
  • Advice Leaflet on plants in the kit
  • Empty pots ready to go
  • Home made plant labels on sticks
  • Gloves
  • Book suitable for the person
  • Small bag of compost

I normally present my kits in a wicker basket or small plastic crate which makes it easy for the person to carry. hanging baskets kits are also a good idea.

You might also want to put a pretty ribbon on the kit, just so that it looks nice but if you have flowering plants in there a ribbon might be too much.

Plants for different conditions

Dry and hot
Shady Loving Garden Plants
Indoor Plants
Impatiens Busy Lizzie
Bleeding Heart
Umbrella Plants

For starters

Kalanchoe is an easy to look after starter plant.
Kalanchoe is an easy to look after starter plant. | Source

Easy Starter Plants

Most new gardeners are worried about killing off any new plants so you may want to give your friend some quite hardy plants. It is also disappointing for a new gardener to lose plants as soon as he or she has started on this new adventure.

  • Rosemary – great herb to cook with and very tough little plant
  • Gooseberry bush – tough bush which produces great berries
  • Lavender – flowers a lot and looks great
  • Kalanchoe – lots of flowers which last for a long time

When it comes to seeds I collect seeds from my own plants but I do also give packets of seeds. The most popular ones tend to be vegetable seeds such as tomatoes, peppers and runner beans but simple flowers seeds such as marigold, cornflowers and daisies are also popular as they can go straight in the ground.

I have learned from experience that less is more, and if you are suddenly overwhelmed by seeds and plants, your new garden may never get started

No garden is complete without a Marigold
No garden is complete without a Marigold | Source


Never underestimate marigolds again - this is not only a ray of sunshine in any garden but also really useful. Marigolds make great companion plants for vegetables as well as other flowers. They help to keep pests away, and they are generous with their seeds. One marigold can produce many others, and the seeds dry well and can be stored until next year.

If you don't want to collect the seeds, just let them self seed. Marigold seeds often survive the hardest of winter frosts.

MiniatureGardens: Design and create miniature fairy gardens, dish gardens, terrariums and more-indoors by Katie Elzer-Peters

Not only is this a beautifully photographed book but it is full on inspiration, and makes you just want to get out there. Of course Katie also gives some great ideas on how to grow things in really small spaces but there is no reason why you can’t “expand” her gardens. I just love looking at the pictures, and dreaming up new ideas.

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun Paperback by Whitney Cohen

Perhaps one of the best books ever written about gardening for children, and I believe every teacher should have one on their desk. Not only does this book make gardening for children fun but it also offers up great ideas for you to try as a family. I must admit I think it is just as fun for adults to try some of the projects in this book

Gardening is for everybody!

Children Love Gardening!

Young and old like to receive garden starter kits but they are certainly very popular with children. Children love to see things grow and I truly believe all children are gardeners in the making.

Starter kits for children should always have a strong focus on vegetables. Most children I know love growing vegetables and take pride in being able to feed the family.

Tomatoes are a firm favorite but other fast growing vegetables such as runner beans are also popular. I have one young friend who has her own garden in a bath tub in the garden, and every summer she produces the most delicious tomatoes and runner beans.

Herbs seem to be a favorite with children as well. They love all the different scents, and of course herbs can be dried for use in small cushions and stuffed toys.

Children are always more creative than adult when it comes to gardening, and their imagination seem to run away with them sometimes. Just like my little friend Pepa and her bath tub.

Getting children involved in garden also teaches them how to look after and care for something. They will also learn where food comes from, and how it produced. Many parents say that their children seem to become more aware of environmental concerns as well.

Perhaps gardening should be taught more often in school, and it is sad but many schools do not have school gardens anymore. School gardens taught children with no access to gardens so much.

Keep in Touch with Your Budding Gardener

Don’t be afraid to keep in touch with your budding gardener. Most appreciate all the support and encouragement you can give them. Perhaps you can even drop by to see how your plants and seeds are getting on. One word of warning, be prepared to get stuck in and help with your friend’s garden.

Small Plot - No Problem

Grow your own chilies, they only need a small pot.
Grow your own chilies, they only need a small pot. | Source

Organic Gardening

Organic gardening, and growing your own vegetables, is becoming very popular. Many budding gardeners who don't have a lost of space available avoid vegetables but there is no reason why they should be excluded from the smaller garden.

Vegetables such as chilies do not take up a lot of space, and neither does cherry tomatoes.
As a matter of fact, cherry tomatoes love growing in hanging baskets and often do very well.

Herb Gardening For Beginners: How to Plant an HerbGarden Paperback By Timothy Tripp

Lots of new gardeners are a bit concerned about growing herbs but nothing could be simpler. Most herbs are very hardy and come in all shapes and sizes. If you are just starting a herb garden Timothy will help and guide you along, and before you know it you will be an expert herb gardener.

Feeling green fingered? More on gardening

Start your own back yard nursery

Making dish gardens

Plan A Small Garden

Egyptian Lunar Phase Gardening

Medicinal plants in your garden

Looking after your Christmas plants


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    • Healthyannie profile imageAUTHOR

      Annie Messeri 

      4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Rebecca, I would love to teach gardening to children. They are the gardeners of the future and I think in the future it will be more important than ever to be able to provide for yourself.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      What a great gift idea. I also love the idea of gardening for children. It's a great hobby for them.Thanks!

    • Healthyannie profile imageAUTHOR

      Annie Messeri 

      4 years ago from Spain

      You are more than welcome. I am glad you like the idea, and I hope your new neighbor likes gardening. Great for kids as well.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      4 years ago from United States

      I've been trying to think of a different sort of welcome gift for a new neighbor, and this sounds like the perfect idea. Thanks so much.

    • Healthyannie profile imageAUTHOR

      Annie Messeri 

      4 years ago from Spain

      Petsku - thank you Petsku. I am afraid I am a bit fanatical about Marigolds.

    • Healthyannie profile imageAUTHOR

      Annie Messeri 

      4 years ago from Spain

      MsDora - I am all for gifts that keeps on giving.

    • Petsku profile image


      4 years ago

      Great work with this!

      A lot of great information, this could really help me as a "checklist" for my gift.

      Marigold seems like a great gift, especially in the spring, it looks so full of life.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      A Garden Starter Kit is such a caring, thoughtful idea. Very useful too. Plus it is the kind of gift that literally keeps on growing. Voted Up!


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