Use Your Garden For a More Sustainable Valentine’s Day

From gift ideas and food foraging to a winter picnic getaway, don't forget your garden.

Close-Up Of Heart Shape With Text On Leaves
Kat Gardiner / EyeEm / Getty Images

Valentine's Day is nearly upon us. Now, more than ever before, it is crucial that we remember what the day should really be about. Valentine's Day can embody some of the worst parts of our consumerist culture, but there are plenty of ways to reject our hyper-consumptive, throw-away society and to enjoy a more sustainable Valentine's Day this year.

One interesting thing to consider is that a garden can be a valuable resource. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, no matter how small, it could help you celebrate with your loved one and show them how much you care in a more ethical and eco-conscious way.

Dine On Food Harvested or Foraged From Your Garden

Homemade rosehip marmalade in ceramic bowl with dried rose hip fruits on wooden board.
Use winter-foraged rose hips to create a jam or syrup as part of a dessert. oykuozgu / Getty Images

Your garden could potentially provide some food to enjoy during a home-cooked, romantic Valentine's Day meal. Even in a winter garden, there may well be food to harvest or wild foods to forage.

Of course, a home-cooked meal can always be a great date option. To enjoy a sustainable Valentine's Day you should choose foods that are local, seasonal, and ideally organic if you have access to such. But going the extra mile and actually picking some food for the meal yourself, from your garden or immediate surroundings, could make that meal an extra special one.

Food from your garden, or in storage from last year's garden, could also be used to make a range of great edible treats to give as Valentine's Day gifts.

If you live in a cold climate, the options for winter harvests and foraging will be more limited. But perhaps you could consider creating a greenhouse or other undercover growing area so you can grow year-round and be set for next Valentine's Day.

Read more: Foraging for Food in the Winter Garden

Gift Life Not Dying Blooms

Hand Holding Flower Pot
Yasser Chalid / Getty Images

Hothouse or imported flowers are sadly a Valentine's Day staple. But this year, you could consider avoiding cut roses or other cut flower offerings, and instead, give a whole rose bush. Rather than giving your loved one flowers that may come with sustainability issues and will wilt in a matter of days, think about giving a gift that will last. Bare root shrubs or trees can make wonderful gifts. Every time they see or even eat from a new perennial plant in the garden, they will be able to remember how much you care.

Even for gifts for people who do not live together, it can be a great idea to give living plants rather than cut flowers. Use the skills you have honed in your garden to tend for a new plant to give to your love this Valentine's Day. Perhaps you could even give them a cutting from a plant you already have in your own garden that they have admired. Or some seeds from plants that you grew last year.

Read more: 14 Houseplants Perfect for Valentine's Day

Seek Out Natural Resources For a DIY Valentine's Day Gift

Heart Shape Made From Dried Plant Stems Hanging On Wooden Fence
Daniel Limpi / EyeEm / Getty Images

A garden's natural resources can go beyond food, and living plants and seeds. There is potentially a range of other great gifts that you can make from things you can find in your garden.

For example, you might be able to use cut branches or twigs to make craft items. Basketry, for example, would allow you to make a great gift (there are plenty of how-to articles and videos for guidance). You might also carve wood, decorate wood with pyrography (wood burning), or, if you are artistic and creative, create artworks with nature's bounty.

If you were feeling ambitious, you might even consider using plant fibers to make paper or fabric for a card or gift. (Nettle fibers, for example, might be used.) Nettles and other plants can also be used to dye natural fabrics. And this could also be an idea for great gifts.

Plant resources are obviously at much shorter supply in a garden in winter than they are during the summer months. But if you dried herbs or flowers from your garden last year, these could also be used to make a number of great Valentine's Day gifts.

Read more: Garden Cuttings for the Prettiest Winter Decor

Use Seasonal Climate Conditions and Create a Romantic Mood

Iced frozen suncatcher hanging on a branch of a tree
Create frozen Valentines to hang from tree branches. Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography / Getty Images

What your garden is like in February will vary considerably depending on where you live. In some areas, a romantic picnic might even be in the cards. In other areas, the weather may be far too cold to spend much time outdoors.

But even in colder regions, winter weather conditions can be used to create a romantic mood. For example, if there is snow, or a thick frost, you could head out into your garden to create a romantic gesture. For example, you could create patterns – a love heart, or your entwined initials, or a simple loving message – on the ground. Even if your loved one just sees the garden from the window, your garden can still have a role in creating the mood.

You might even create a romantic winter scene with LED lights or lanterns strung in the trees. Setting up a magical vista can help your Valentine's Day evening an enchanting and special occasion – even when you are staying home.

Enjoy a Romantic Night Under the Stars

Candle lantern. Selective focus and shallow depth of field.
Eerik / Getty Images

Even if the weather is very cold, you might still be able to spend some time together outdoors. If the skies are clear, for example, you might get out a telescope and look at the stars, before heading back indoors to warm up.

You could even make an adventure of things, and set up a winter tent with plenty of bedding, and snuggle up together for a romantic camping retreat right there in your very own garden.

A garden can be a wonderful resource. All year round, try to make the most of it. Use your imagination and your garden will provide a range of opportunities to help you enjoy a safe and sustainable Valentine's Day this year.