Garden Living

Growing Greenery for Holiday Decorating

Filling your home with fresh, fragrant, colorful greenery is never easier than when you can head out to the yard and clip what you need.

Why not think ahead and plant shrubs such as cedar, holly, pine, boxwood, and spruce whose foliage adds an organic sensibility and often a natural scent to the home. Greenery gathered from your own garden will be far fresher than any you can buy, and the variety will likely exceed what you can find at a market. FYI–pines, firs, boxwoods, and cedars are good for indoor decoration as they dry out more slowly; Hemlocks, spruces, and most broadleaf evergreens will last longer if used outdoors.

Below are some suggested varieties to use in holiday decorating.

CRAFTSMEN’S TIP:

When gathering live greenery from your shrubs and trees, remember that you are actually pruning the plants. Consider carefully which branches to cut and which ones to leave. You don’t want to end up with bald spots! Distribute the cuts evenly around the plant in order to preserve its natural form.

WHO, WHAT, WHY

Golden Mop Threadleaf False Cypress: Ground hugging little conifer that loves full sun. The golden color adds a midas touch to wreaths and garlands. Zone: 4 – 8
Majestic Beauty® Japanese Black Pine: Fast growing conifer with super dark green foliage. Bunches of  needles look amazing in an evergreen runner. Zone: 5 – 9
Colorado Blue Spruce: Rigid tiered branches densely covered with stiff gray-blue needles. Good for wreaths, really good just in a vase. Zone: 2 – 8
Little Gem Dwarf Southern Magnolia: Smaller in scale than other Southern magnolias but with same fragrant blooms. Makes a seriously elegant garland. Zone: 7 – 9
Emerald Isle® Leyland Cypress: Tall and narrow, perfect tall screen. Soft texture makes for one of the best conifers for a mixed evergreen wreath. Zone: 5 – 9
Whipcord Western Red Cedar: Whimsical-yet-stately to plant in mass. Let branches spill over the sides of a vase of red roses for an unforgettable show. Zone: 5 – 7
Castle Spire® Blue Holly: Every garden needs a holly for  its year-round good looks. Wreaths, trimming packages, napkin rings. You get the idea! Zone: 5 – 7

AND A FEW "WHO KNEW" CHOICES!

Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae: Tall and narrow (think flanking front door) with golden foliage. Good foliage for winter windowboxes. Zone: 3 – 7
Mountain Pepper: Deep green leaves, red stems, white flowers, and foliage is edible. Ideal for tucking into ready-made wreaths for instant color. Zone: 7 – 10
Sienna Sunrise® Heavenly Bamboo: Nandinas are easy and fuss-free, adding year-round color to borders. Add red-hued new foliage to a vase of white flowers. Zone: 6 – 11
Sungold Thread-Branch Cypress: Soft and mounding form makes a sweet little hedge. Mix with branches of winterberries in a silvery vase. Zone: 4 – 8
Pink Tip Podocarpus: Such an underused option for a low hedge or ground cover. Snipped branches (yes, with pink new tips) add texture to wreaths. Zone: 7 – 10
Tuscan Blue Rosemary:  In warmer zones rosemary is looking fat and sassy this time of year. Pliable stems just beg to be turned into little wreaths. Zone: 8 – 11
Golden Deodar Cedar:  Specimen tree adds a highly picturesque element to the landscape. Look at those nearly-glowing cones. Need we say more? Zone: 7 – 9

All photos:  DoreenWynja.com for Monrovia

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