Susan Parson's kitchen garden Christmas gift ideas for Canberrans

Susan Parsons

Pantry Poultry

This year, one in three of our kitchen gardeners who appeared in Food & wine kept chooks. Now everyone can have a hen in the house with Pantry Poultry. These cloth freerange chickens and roosters from Thurlby Herbs are filled with herbs and essential oils to keep insects away from your dry ingredients. $15.95 from the National Library shop. Just up the road in Parkes Place at Pork Barrel you can buy a dozen 700g Tharwa Open Range eggs ($7 dozen) from hens kept on green pasture at Cuppacumbalong Homestead.

Australian bush medicine

After energetic weeding activity or cooking over a hot barbecue, most of us tend to sweat, perspire or "glow". Rohr Remedy is natural skin care using Australian plant extracts from Kakadu plum, boab, honey myrtle and desert lime. Their wildflower deodorant contains essential oils from kunzea and rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia). $16 from Home, Bed & Bath, Shop 9, Style Arcade Franklin Street, Manuka.

Raising sourdough

If you bake your own sourdough to accompany homemade dips, pesto and hummus, follow the lead of kitchen gardener Edwin Ride and Flute Bakery in Fyshwick and use a banneton​. This coiled, round loaf proving basket turns out a loaf with a spiral pattern of flour etched on its surface. Made by Thomas Plant in Birmingham, established 1850. $29.99 from Essential Ingredient, Kingston.

Garden birds

Small birds add life and colour to the garden, but they need water and somewhere safe to land. Powder-coated steel bird feeders from Kimoa Creation Animal collection, made in France, with shapes representing seven continents have a hook for seed balls. They are popular as christening gifts or for Christmas to hang on the tree and then in the garden. $40 from Country House, Franklin Street, Manuka.

Kneeling outdoors

In church or in the garden its good to have a cushion to kneel on and the Royal Horticultural Society UK has teamed with Burgon & Ball to produce kneeling pads. The Monier Passiflora design based on a 1790 watercolour by James Bolton, is ultra-cushioning, has a handle and could be used as a picnic seat or at a concert. $51.95 from The Garden in Weston and Dickson.

'Indigenous' water bottle

Pauline Gallagher of the Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu has created a design depicting the journey of Indigenous women travelling to the East gathering food. This has been used on a water bottle, which is the perfect way for the forager or bush walker to stay hydrated. Royalties from purchases directly benefit the artist and their community. $22.99 from the National Library shop.

Baby bay tree

Every garden and cook needs a bay tree and the dwarf Laurus Baby Bay (1.5m x 1m) from Touch of Class plants in Victoria can be grown in a pot or as a low hedge or trimmed as topiary. Plants are low water maintenance once established. The plant comes with a recipe for salmon fillets with eight baby bay leaves. $19.95 from The Garden in Weston and Dickson.

Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.