Gardeners know how easy it is to come up with creative ideas to decorate for the holidays. A stroll around the yard with a pair of pruning shears can provide an armload of evergreens, branches, leaves, berries, pine cones, seed pods, clippings and other natural materials to assemble festive, one-of-a-kind decorations in your home.
Here are guidelines and a few ideas for using your garden’s gifts to deck the halls, hearth, dining table and more:
- When you cut branches from evergreens, prune responsibly; you don’t want to run the shape of your shrubs!
- Fresh greenery dries out quickly and is flammable. Harvest the materials as close to the time you’ll use it so it will be as fresh as possible. Keep greenery away from vents, fireplaces, candles and other heat sources; check it every couple of days and replace anything that has dried out or is turning brown.
- As you cut material to bring indoors, pound the ends of branches with a mallet, then soak them in water overnight so they will absorb as much water as possible. Consider treating greenery with an anti-dessicant spray (available at nurseries or florists), which adds a waxy coat to slow the process of water loss.
- Place arrangements in water whenever possible, or use florists foam. Mist evergreen and natural arrangements every couple of days to slow the drying process.
- Many berries are poisonous, so to be safe, don’t use greenery with berries in a household with small children or pets.
Trees and shrubs that are a good source for nature-made decorations include boxwood, magnolia, nandina, holly, aucuba, rosemary, camellia, ivy, pine (needles and cones), cedar (though it dries out more quickly than other evergreens), yew, spruce and other evergreen shrubs.
And here are a few fast and easy ideas for bring festive touches of greenery into your home for the holidays:
- Place sprigs of greenery around a serving platter or punch bowl.
- Use branches of evergreens above mirrors, pictures or doors. A suggestion is to arrange two bundles of greenery with stem ends together and secured with wire hidden with more greenery or ribbons.
- Make an easy centerpiece using leaves and sprigs of greenery arranged with ribbons, ornaments, pine cones or berries.
- Twine fresh ivy around or through a napkin ring for a touch of greenery at each place setting.
- Place sprigs of fresh greenery in a hurricane globe or clear vase with pine cones or other small Christmas-y items.