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FLORAL SCENT: Bring the garden indoors with Dunedin soap-maker Inga Ford’s four floral soaps from her range.
The soap ($10 a cake) is stocked in selected gift and homewares stores around New Zealand, including more than 20 outlets in Otago, Southland and South Canterbury.
For the full list see http://ingafordsoapmaker.bigcartel.com/stockists
OPEN GARDENS: Visiting other people’s gardens makes an enjoyable day out, especially in the quiet time between Christmas and New Year. On December 28, the Maniototo Garden Club has organised 11 properties to visit in the Middlemarch-Hyde area, an easy journey from Dunedin.
The self-guided tour costs $10 a person. Tickets, including booklets and a map, are available from More than Books and Challenge Garage in Ranfurly, The Naseby Store, The Kissing Gate Cafe in Middlemarch and selected gardens on the day. Travel via SH85 from Palmerston and visit Shingly Creek Station before continuing to Hyde and Middlemarch, or begin at Middlemarch and end at Shingly Creek. Gardens are open 10am-5pm.
Devonshire teas are available at extra cost as a St John fundraiser and there are places to buy lunch in Middlemarch. Contact Noela 027-447-943 or Joanne 027-601-1100 for more information.
EXOTIC BEAUTY: Orchids make lovely gifts, as they stay in bloom for weeks and the plants are long-lasting if treated kindly.
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) in an arched shape with two stems are a standout this season, with colours from pure white to dark pink, some with striped petals.
Available from Bunnings, $44.98. The store also has gift cards and buyers of them go into a draw to win a BBQ.
FOR THE YOUNGSTERS: Suitable for two to four players aged 6 and up, Flying Kiwis is a New Zealand-designed game ideal for keeping everyone entertained on a wet day or quiet evening; $36.90 from a range of children’s games at the Otago Museum shop.
PLAN AHEAD: Treat someone to a trip to some of our least-visited islands and home of one of our loveliest native plants, the Chatham Island forget-me-not.
The Travel Warehouse has seven-day escorted Chathams tours departing from Christchurch on Tuesdays from October to April each year.
There is an option to visit Pitt Island as well as Chatham Island. The cost is $3395 per person, twin share.
TAKING FLIGHT: If there are no butterflies in your garden, enjoy them indoors with wooden kitset specimens.
A set of three small ones is $19.90, large $36.90, from the Otago Museum shop.
SAY IT WITH FLOWERS: Through Interflora, florists can send flowers worldwide. Prices vary according to what flowers are chosen; check with your local florist and place orders early to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.
It has a steel frame and weatherproof canopy and cushions are included; $129 from Bunnings.
This potted Picea abies Conica, or Norway spruce, ($21.94 from Bunnings) is a small gem that can be kept in a container for next year or transplanted into the garden where it will grow into a shapely 5m specimen.
In conjunction with soap-maker Inga Ford, the Otago Daily Times has three packs of four floral soaps, valued at $40 a pack, to give away. To enter the draw for one, write your name, address and daytime phone number on the back of a standard envelope and send it to Inga Ford giveaway, Editorial Features Otago Daily Times, PO Box 517, Dunedin 9054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘‘Inga Ford’’ in the subject line. Entries close December 8.