Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Planting Annuals in Mason Jars: Thank You Gifts for Our Coworkers

Rich and I both work in the special education field, where we have many people working with us in our classrooms. I have always said that I could not do my job without the support, collaboration, and teamwork of the wonderful ladies who work in my room! Each year, I try to show my appreciation with a little gift for each of my coworkers.
This year in his new classroom, Rich is working with many people also, so we worked together to create a colorful and fun gift to give. He might want me to inform you that this idea was mostly his, and he'd be right. Well done, husband!

We started by heading to JoAnn Fabrics, the closest craft store, for jars, ribbon, and supplies to make tags to label the jars. I wanted to get the jars there, even though they're sold at plenty of different places, because I knew I could use coupons from the apps on my phone. If you're not using the JoAnn's and RetailMeNot apps to save there, you're just silly. Save some money, friends! But, I digress.
At JoAnn's we were able to get everything we needed to get started. We also grabbed a mason jar rubber stamp for the thank you tags, and some floral wire to stick into the jars.
The next step was to pick up some annuals. There is a great, family-owned farm stand nearby that I love to stop at on my way home from work from time to time. They have awesome veggies, apples, apple cider, honey, etc., but also have amazing greenhouses with veggie plants, annuals, and perennials in 6-packs, which is a great way to buy them. Anyway, I grabbed a couple of packs of gazanias, which I hadn't ever seen before but was drawn to right away. Unfortunately, by the time I got them home, they were all closed up for the evening, which made them easy to plant but less pretty to photograph. One of my coworkers did snap a photo of hers open, and it was a beautiful shot!
Great photo, Sue! :)
I always do planting tasks outside, so I brought everything out onto the deck. You'll need more soil than comes in each compartment of the six pack, so grab a small bag of potting soil if you don't have any lying around. I used a big spoon to put some soil into the bottom of each jar, filling it maybe 1/3 of the way. Then I chose two plants which had different flower colors, used my fingers to break apart the roots a bit, and squeezed them into the jar. It was a bit of a tight squeeze to get them in, but once the roots got past the opening of the jar, they were fine. I preferred the fuller look of two plants in each jar, so I went with it. Follow your heart, okay? I used my spoon to put them down a bit, added some more soil on top, and wiped off the outside of each jar with a damp cloth.
The second half of this project was to create a tag for each jar. There are tons of ways you could do this, some more involved than others, but I was happy to have an excuse to break out some crafting supplies and get creative. The weather was beautiful, so I brought everything outside. This step isn't required, but I would recommend it if the weather's nice. Trust.
First, I chose some card stock which would go well with the teal and yellow ribbon I'd purchased, and also with the colors of the flowers. I stamped each one with the mason jar stamp, and then a "thanks" flower stamp. I also used a set of letter stamps to add each person's name. Last, I punched each corner with a decorative corner punch, which happens to be leftover from wedding crafts, but actually gets used much more than I ever would have predicted.
On the back of each tag, I wrote the plant's name, since it was an unusual (at least for me) variety. I also wrote the climate instructions that were on the plant label. I signed each tag from my co-teacher and me, since the gifts in my classroom were from both of us. Finally, I punched a hole in the corner of each tag, so I could hang them on the wire.
I took a piece of floral wire and made a spiral curve on one end (pictured below), on which I hung the tag. I stuck the other, straight end into the jar, so they stuck out like little flags. To finish each jar, I tied a bow with the ribbon I had purchased. I love the look of two ribbons together, but you could totally do whatever you wanted, here. I gave each jar out with a handwritten thank you note, since I have way more to say than I could squeeze on the tags. I know you're shocked about that.
I loved how this project turned out, and it worked especially well, since we had about 18 gifts to make between the two of us. Since we knew that we had so many to make, it was great that these materials could be bought in "bulk", or at least in groups of 6. I thought these jars would also be fun party favors, center pieces, neighbor gifts, table place cards, etc. You could really adapt them however made sense for you! Happy planting and happy crafting!
Let me know if you give these a try- I'd love to see what you come up with!


  1. This is the sweetest idea! And so practical too!

  2. Agree - that is a simple yet wonderful gift.. and it is so sweet that you appreciate your co-workers!


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