When my wife and I decorate for the holiday season, we incorporate plants into the design. Not everything comes from our garden because we like to use a mix of fresh-cut evergreens with berries and various dried elements. Here, holiday decorating tips:
Outside our home, we create an arrangement of evergreen branches and berries in the two planters on our front porch. On our door, we hang an embellished wreath to match our planters. For your own, start with a simple base of mixed evergreen cuttings. Then, work in white lights and finish by mixing in berries and possibly dried flowers.
Around the rest of our house are arrangements of artificial greenery and real plants incorporated from our garden. I buy poinsettias and use amaryllis and paper whites. Other plants to consider: pine cones, winterberry, dried flowers such as hydrangeas, red twig dogwood, sticks and twigs painted silver or gold, birch branches, and dried seed pods.
Inside, my wife and I opt for a Christmas tree. The type of tree is a personal preference. Locally grown spruce and pine trees are great, but we like balsam fir. This tree’s defining characteristic is the small flat needle — green on top and a lighter silvery green on bottom. Fir trees hold up well inside; spruces and pines tend to dry out quickly.
If a real tree seems wasteful (an entire social movement surrounds the notion of zero-waste Christmas trees), consider a tree with its root ball intact. These trees — such as Norway spruce, Scotch pine, or white pine available at tree farms and garden centers — are used indoors for a few weeks and then planted outside once the weather warms.
When wrapping presents, forget the traditional bow. We use a sprig of holly as a ribbon or a miniature bouquet tied to a package. It adds a special touch.
– Brian Wildeman is a designer with Landscapes by Dallas Foster and Keep Evansville Beautiful’s 2010 community volunteer of the year.