Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Bringing In the (Evergreen) Sheaves

Use sheaves of evergreen boughs to create wreaths, garlands, and table decorations.

Most nurseries and garden stores sell evergreen boughs in bundles, but if you landscape with evergreens, now is a good time to prune and gather your own. Until you're ready to bring them indoors for decorating, store evergreen boughs in a cool,Christmas Decorations moist spot out of the wind and other adverse elements.

Some popular evergreens include balsam fir, spruce, white pine, and hemlock. Additionally, white and red cedar, as well as many junipers, eliminates the need for artificial evergreen scents. Arborvitae foliage fades quickly to yellow once pruned and makes an interesting contrast in an evergreen wreath or in multi-strand garlands.

Very Berry Wreath

Before you start gathering evergreens —

Do a tool inventory to see what you'll need to complete your evergreen decorating project(s). Tools you'll need include:

  1. A utility scissors for cutting greens, snipping floral wire and cutting ribbon to size.
  2. Floral wire is thin green wire that wraps easily and is essential for holding evergreen bundles together as well as attaching ribbons and small accents to your evergreens.
  3. Wreath forms: Styrofoam and straw wreath forms are available at any craft outlet. If you prefer to work with a wire base, use number 9 wire. Metal coat hangers bent into a circle also make great wreath forms and have the extra benefit of a ready-made wreath hook.
  4. Rope or heavy twine: A natural base for garlands that allows them to hang gracefully and naturally.
  5. Table arrangements: Use floral picks or hairpins (the wide ones - not 'bobby' pins) to secure evergreen boughs to floral foam. Floral foam is sold in square blocks that are easily cut to the size you need.

Evergreen Wreaths

Start modeling your evergreen wreath with longer pieces of your evergreen boughs, from eight to fourteen inches in length (whatever is easiest for you to handle). Work around your form, overlapping one piece with the next and using floral wire to attach the boughs to straw or wire forms and floral picks to attach them to a Styrofoam form.

Add depth to your wreath with shorter pieces from four to eight inches in length. Wire handfuls together at one end and attach them to the base you've made of longer boughs. Again, overlap each piece with the next to hide your wires.

For added festivity, decorate your wreath with small ornaments, cinnamon sticks, holly sprigs, or small berries. Tie your ribbon and secure it by wiring the back part of the loop to your wreath.

Evergreen Garlands

Measure your area and cut rope or heavy twine in lengths 1-1/2 times longer to let your finished garland hang gracefully and naturally. Use floral wire to attach evergreen boughs to your rope or twine base, overlapping each bough or small evergreen bundle with the next. Accent your garland with small ornaments and/or a string of holiday lights.

Holiday Centerpieces and Table Arrangements

Fill a basket with pinecones and assorted unshelled nuts (chestnuts roasted on an open fire?). Add some evergreen boughs for color, some cinnamon sticks and cloves for aroma, attach a ribbon to your basket base or handle and you have created a lovely aromatic and partially edible holiday centerpiece. Don't forget the nutcracker!

For extra pizzazz, dip some pinecones in egg white and roll them in ground spices. These are also great little items to through on the Yule log in your fireplace when you need an extra touch of holiday fragrance.

To make evergreen boughs last through the holiday season, stick them into a block of wet floral foam that you've cut to fit your favorite holiday bowl or vase. Arrange the boughs as you would any floral arrangement. You'll need to add water only infrequently, since floral foam holds many times its weight in water.

Winter Gardening

During winter we turn our focus to indoor container gardening. Along with foliage plants and flowers, adding an indoor herb garden or container vegetable garden helps stretch your food budget and adds extra flavor to winter menus. Winter is also the time to design a new spring garden and start annual seeds for spring planting.

If you're new to gardening, winter is the best time to get acquainted with gardening basics to make your first garden a success.

Use our site map to find your way if you get lost along our garden path or to browse our PDF Library to download some of our more informative (and longer) articles. Find information on individual cultivars in Plants A to Z.

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