Holiday Greens

runktrun(z7a MA)December 2, 2010

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend I went out into the yard with my sister-in-law and collected evergreens, pinecones, moss, berries and lichen, to create holiday decorations. I was pretty satisfied with the outcome of the wreaths although I now know bayberry dries up almost overnight. Where I failed was with the *&^% bow no matter how many youtube videos on bow making I watched the outcome repeatedly looked amateurish and made the wreaths look terrible. So I surrender today I am off to the nursery to buy a premade bow �so much for saving money!

Do you do anything with holiday greens? Have any tips or decorative suggestions? Would you share a photo of yours? kt

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lovesummer1

Gorgeous! I'd love to know how you did the moss and lichen one. What did you use for a base, and how did you adhere it?
I'd be inclined to either do without a bow or do something unconventional on the top wreath, maybe something out of birch bark? A glitzy bow doesn't seem to fit, though I suppose something like raffia would look good.

The only thing I've done so far is clip some yew branches and red-twigged dogwood to stick into an empty planter on a post. It looks OK, though I don't know how long the yew will last.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 12:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Lovely job! I agree with lovesummer that they don't need a traditional bow, but I suppose you do want something to make them festive for the holidays. Maybe some faux berries or small bells...

Claire

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 12:26PM
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ginny12

Confession time--here is a way to cheat if you are short on real evergreens suitable for Christmas wreaths and swags. Buy a fake one and then stick in real evergreens and berries--as many as you can. The fake, uh, faux, stuff fills out the background but can be invisible and you don't need to fuss with too much wiring etc.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 7:06PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

you know ginny, that's pretty darn clever of you.
very smart thinking; i'll have to work on that idea.

kt, we do alot with bay laurel roping , twisted w/ wide red velvet ribbon and decorated w/ fruit(faux) around our 2 doors. we also do bay laurel and red ribbon roping across our mantlepiece,over a wide open entry into our kitchen and a wide expanse of kitchen window over our 2-sinks counter. in the din. rm. we do bay laurel/red ribbon roping over the top 1/2 of each window (like a horseshoe)with a faux apple bough and gold leaf 'oak leaves w/ acorns' center pendant. bay laurel is very hard to find (we have one local vendor) and expensive but it lasts a long time and is very verdant (makes a good green backdroop for the fruit.)

on our short white picket fence across the front of our property we swag pine roping w/ big red bows.

i'll look for photos.
best,
mindy

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:58AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

these are both old photos and look a bit ragged but i will take new photos and post in the next week.
best,
mindy From XMAS HOUSE

From XMAS HOUSE

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 2:46AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Thanks for the nice comments now all I have to do is actually follow through and hang the dang things.
lovesummer,
I used a wire metal wreath frame layed the moss on the frame and wrapped thin floral wire around in to hold it in place. If this was a wreath I wanted to last for a very long time I would have wrapped the frame in burlap so the moss would have something to adhere to.
Mindy,
Wow that is really beautiful. I particularly like that you did traditional greens on your lovely traditional New England home. There is nothing more aweful in my book than a beautiful home decorated with inflatable holiday characters.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 10:03AM
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ginny12

Wish I could take credit for the idea, Mindy, but I saw it at a Christmas decorating demonstration so not my original idea. I love your house and the decorations--perfect New England Christmas card. We just need a little snow, no blizzards please.

And Runktrun, those wreaths are beautiful. I especially want that moss and lichen wreath very, very much!! How did you ever scrape off the lichens?

A friend used to give me a wreath of mountain laurel sprigs every Christmas. I loved it. Then she went back to work and didn't have the time with work and family.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 5:01PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

I love that moss/lichen wreath. very cool. I once did a wreath of pansies in the spring in a coco liner. The wreath is sitting in a corner somewhere gathering moss. I will have to take a better look at it with a fresh eye.

I can't find any pictures of my winter greenery planters on the front steps. I gather pine branches, holly, yews, chamaecyparis, hemlock. (actually, I don't think I've ever done yews before. I just added some today for the first time).

To dress it up, I add some dogwood branches, dried hydrangea flowers, and some faux silk dusty miller for a punch of silver.
I need to finish mine this weekend. Will take a pic if they comes out good.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 12:18AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy, plse post those shots; i'd like some inspiration for something like that. how do you handle taking off large pieces from chamae s and yews? do you cut off the 'back' of the conifer? how long do they last outside before going brown/dry?

here are some shots from today. My Love did it all himself this time!!

best,
mindy
www.cottonarboretum.com/

driveway door (our real front door)
From 1210 HOUSE XMAS GARDEN

true front door (and yep, we have some rhodo whacking to do!)
From 1210 HOUSE XMAS GARDEN

From 1210 HOUSE XMAS GARDEN

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 3:17AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I agree with everyone that your two wreathes are beautiful, Katy. Also I think that the moss/lichen one should have some sort of organic looking bow if you add one.

Mindy, your house looks lovely with all the red bows. They really complement the red of your house. I like the way the square wreath on your "real" front door echos the square patterns of the doorway.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2010 at 9:49AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Here are my planter greens. Mindy, they last well into March/April without turning brown. It always amazes me. They also hold up to snow great. I brush off big snow.

I forgot to add the faux-dusty miller and faux-berries until after the pot had frozen so they are just sitting there loosely. I will need to bring them inside to thaw and get the other stuff stuck in the soil. Otherwise I will lose them to wind and snow-clearing.

Also, I often use real winterberries, which look awesome, but I waited so long this year and it was too cold the day I was cutting things up.

As far as the pruning effects, my chamaecyparises ('Gold Mop') and others are quite large and there is plenty to take without being noticed. I wait to do the holly pruning to this time of year. The berries are usually low on the branch, so they are not very visible. THat's where faux or winterberries come in. Sometimes I add pinecones or sumac blooms, but not this year.

And of course, the planters are fiberglass or resin or something along those lines.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 5:51PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy, thanks SO much!i'm going to try to riff on your pots tomorrow after we finish?!the bulb planting. i'll post photos when i can. the tough thing is getting the 2 of us over the pruning phobia, but it looks like your conifer branches are about 2-3' long. yes? we have tons of rhodo opportunities because our 2 front ones are way too big. you know,wendy, my lymne grass is still blue! i don't think it will be blue much longer but i may try to include a potted up plant of that.
best,wish me luck tomorrow!,
mindy

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 1:52AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Wendy,
In my opinion have just the right mix of greens. To me they over all have a great balance of hard and soft with a splash of red. But as much as your planters are beautiful the real shinning star in your photo is your pup dog. Is he/she a new breed? Very Cute.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 8:50AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Thanks kt.

actually, the dog is an ancient breed... Tibetan Terrier... a good luck companion to the Dali Lama. similar/bigger than lhasa apso.

It was really weird. When I went to take the pic, she just went over to that spot and sat down as if to say 'can I be in the picture too?'. she never poses like that.

The planter on the right is a bit off. I keep turning it to find its best side. A little snow and ice should fix that problem right up!

yesterday with the warm temps, the soil was workable and I was able to adjust some of my late additions to balance them better.

mindy, we want to see what you came up with.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:21AM
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spedigrees z4VT

I agree, as pretty as the twin urns of greenery may be, the pooch is the star feature of that photograph!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 3:51PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wendy, i haven't done them yet because i've been waiting for your answer!!>> how long are the branches mostly? 2'?
less?
thanks,
mindy

p.s. i always love to watch the tib. terr.s at westminster in feb (on t.v.) What is her name and how old is she?does she yap? (forgive me, kt, for OT, though you DID ask about her first!)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 3:24AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Sorry. I went to go find a picture of the mature plant and got distracted cause the only one I could find is several years old. THis was from 2004. It is about double in size.

yes, I would say at least a 2' cut, maybe a bit more. Then I trim off the lower side branches leaving 8-12" for sticking in the soil. It also depends on the size of the pot. I made up a smaller pot with the trimmings from my big pots.

OT:

Here's Penny's album.

Penny's album

She looks nothing like the TT's at Westminster. Short haircut is so much more practical. THey never win or rarely place because they are in the same non-sporting group with poodles, who tend to be judges faves....I call it the "miscellaneous" group.

She's about 8. Not a real yapper like the traditional little guys, but she does bark at outdoor disturbances, territorially. She's got a lot of emotional baggage, very nervous and a real scaredy cat about everything. My previous TT never barked at all and was calm as a cucumber. This one was on prozak for 2 years!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 8:28AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

OT:THANK YOU wendy. i have saved 'cool' and 'silly people' so i can click on them and smile when i want!
she is just beeay you tee full!
best,
mindy
now i wil get to the urns....

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 3:44PM
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mrtulin

Mindy reminded me that conifers benefit from being "tipped" and having nothing better to do than sleep, I googled for a while.

Harvesting white pine tips is an industry in the tree farm and forestry business. A tree can produce about three years of white pine tips.

Lots of other good info, if you areinclined to look at the economics of white pine tips industry.

Marie

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 11:44PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

o.k. , they're finally done! if you click on the web album link below each photo, it lists the plant material.And wendy, thank you so much for the urn inspiration, and kt for starting this thread. I prob. never would have done the urns if you hadn't posted your handsome creations.
best,
mindy
www.cottonarboretum.com/ From FG XMAS 12/10

From FG XMAS 12/10

From FG XMAS 12/10

From FG XMAS 12/10

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 4:05AM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Very nice! Heavily berried makes them nice and showy! I don't have many berried plants around my garden. I saw some incredibly realistic faux berry stems at a garden center recently. About $10 a stem seemed ridiculous though.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 10:53PM
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mrtulin

That's what the after xmas half price sales are for! I shouldn't speak for Mindy, but it's possible those berries are faux aussi. And if not, my apologies to the berries.

One thing about using shiny balls and glitter holly, everyone knows they are real faux
Marie

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 12:47AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

on the subject of heavy berrying, deep sigh. NONE of our shrubs, except the barberries, berry heavily. phooey.
so, defntly faux berries. and wendy, don't forget to make a SPECIAL TRIP to Mahoney's in winch(preferably;the most stuff)the DAY AFTER xmas. tons of stuff but the best things do go first, of course. wendy, if you DO come to winch, plse come over for tea and to see first person the creations you inspired!
597 washingtons st.
best,
mindy

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 5:36PM
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pixie_lou

Attempting to post a photo of my holiday planters. My 6 year old and I went around the yard and clipped the greens, then she stuck them all in the planters. I decided to leave them how she decorated them - didn't think I could do much better myself!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 7:01PM
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hammonds_ns(6)

Beautiful pictures everyone...enjoying this thread and the creativity. Here are some I took today...

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 6:26PM
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WendyB(5A/MA)

Holding up to the snow so far...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 10:46PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I've enjoyed looking at everyone's holiday decorations, and will look for fruit to include in my next year's wreaths, something I hadn't considered before.

I did very little for holiday decorating this year due to family and work obligations (not even wreaths!) but I did find time to fill my buckets at the end of the driveway for the winter.
Like Pixie Lou I just went around the yard and clipped things (though no 6 year old to help, unfortunately.) I started with tying up the dried grass in the big barrel to make a tuft, though as you can see from the photos, that didn't hold together so I'll skip that in future years. I pushed the spruce, red maple and yellowish pagoda dogwood branches into the soil and then had to leave for 2 weeks. When I got back the buckets were frozen, so I added the white pine and holly by just tucking them in as best I could among the spruce branches. In past years I've done smaller arrangements, but they've disappeared under the snow, so I decided to try for something more exuberant this year. My inspiration was some of Deborah Silver's planter arrangements on her Dirt Simple blog, but hers are more formal than I wanted for my rural setting. I think I'll stool the stump sprouts on the red maples (cut down 2 years ago since they were damaged and dying) to keep the color brighter for next year's buckets.

One plus I've noticed in previous years - when the snow melts in spring, the birds love the holly berries and will strip the branches in the buckets in a matter of an hour or two. From December 2010 From December 2010

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 8:56AM
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spedigrees z4VT

----I've enjoyed looking at everyone's holiday decorations, and will look for fruit to include in my next year's wreaths, something I hadn't considered before.---

A number of years ago I constructed a wreath of edible apples attached to a wire frame and hung it on the barn. The horses loved the apples and the wreath didn't last long, but it was appreciated by the barn dwellers! I wish I'd taken photos...

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 10:45AM
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scpearson(5 NE CT)

Beautiful and inspiring, all!
I buy the ribbon that is 2-3" wide but is wired with a very thin wire you can cut with scissors. It is easy to
arrange and makes all the difference, keeping the bow "perky." You should still be able to pick some up at the end of year sales for next year. I would keep it simple though, solid color, because the wreaths themselves are so beautiful.
I put brick size styrofoam in my window boxes and stick greens in them as well. It dresses up the house all winter.
Mine stay green through Spring, as someone else mentioned - must be the cold that keeps them that way.
Thanks for sharing by including the pictures, everyone - they are very enjoyable.
Susan

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 4:34PM
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