By Maria Price
The garden keeps providing even after Jack Frost has arrived. It’s fun to look at my garden and discover plants I can use to decorate the holiday table. Evergreens such as pines and holly can serve as a backbone to most Christmas arrangements.
I use a plastic bowl, soup bowl, or basket to hold this arrangement. I first cut a piece of floral foam that has been saturated with water. If you don’t have floral foam, use a piece of chicken wire shaped into a ball to fit your container.
Fir trees are an excellent variety since they hold on to their needles much longer. I placed a wreath made out of fir in my barn last year and when I looked at it this year it still had all of its needles and smelled good. Fraser fir, balsam fir, and grand fir have all grown well for me and they smell like Christmas. When cutting branches of fir from your tree, don’t cut past where green needles are or into bare branches, because the branch will not grow back.
English boxwood is another favorite evergreen I use in my arrangements. To prevent spreading fungal diseases, I dip my snippers in alcohol as I cut from one boxwood plant to another. Boxwood blight can devastate an entire plant.
‘Blue Ice’ Arizona cypress has a wonderful aromatic scent and a silvery color. I cut the greens into lengths of about 6 inches and more. Then I collect pine cones from spruce, white pine, native loblolly, and Virginia pine and lay them in a box. I spray them with white paint followed by a sprinkle of snowy glitter and repeat on the back sides. Using florist wire, I wrap the bottom of individual cones and twist the two ends of the wire together to strengthen the wire pick. I also gather oak leaves from southern red oaks and white oak and spray them with silver paint front and back.
After placing greens all the way around my container, I then add three or four wired glittered pine cones plus three branches of white beautyberry that I had previously dried. Then I add some dried hydrangea flowers that have been sprayed white and glittered, plus three to four silver oak leaves around the perimeter of the arrangement. Cut the stems at an angle so they will pierce the floral foam.
All these natural elements make a beautiful winter arrangement that only needs a little water on occasion to keep the greens fresh and last the holiday season.