Sunday, December 7, 2014

Evergreens For the Season

I'm not sure what inspired me to write about this subject or even make these little arrangements, but thought I'd share with you some simple ideas for making holiday arrangements out of materials you might have growing in your garden or yard. It could be I was inspired by a friend and fellow garden blogger, Donna Abel Donabella and her blog Gardens Eye View. Every Monday she would link in to another blogger's blog that was hosting the theme "In A Vase On Monday". I always enjoyed the vases that she produced and displayed. So colorful with beautiful vases, and she would use plants that I never would have thought to use in a floral arrangement.

During this "fall/winter" thaw, now is the time to get outside to gather and trim some of your shrubs, vines, and perennials for winter arrangements. As long as you don't have a lot of snow to shovel off your gardens you might want to try making a few simple arrangements.

There are several items you can cut now outside for fillers in your arrangements. Some of these would include dried flower heads such as hydrangea, some grasses, and evergreens such as boxwood, cedar, holly, ivy, pachysandra, and vinca vine. I have quite a few of these plants growing in our yard so thought I'd gather some up and make a few simple arrangements.

I am by no means a florist, but I do have a few vases and some craft supplies that I can use for accents.

Bypass pruners
I thought about trimming some branches off our holly bushes, but the past few years have left them pretty scraggly looking. The deer got to them and trimmed them back pretty good, and then last year with the long, cold winter we had more of the branches died back. So right now they do not need any further trimming.



Boxwood. I'm going to start with the boxwood. I'm not sure exactly what variety I have. It may be English Boxwood. You will actually be pruning these bushes so you want to use a bypass pruner to make clean, sharp cuts without crushing the stems. It is actually recommended to prune your boxwood annually (which is also called plucking).


Boxwood
It should be done in late fall or early winter. You only need to prune 10%-15% of the shrub. You don't want to shear these bushes because then they will become a tight mass of branches which could lead to disease and breakage. What you want to do is to thin out the branches with cuts about 6" to 8" long. But don't over-prune it either. You want to open up the center so that sunlight and air can reach the interior, and also allow rain to water the roots. It will also help by letting the snow fall through the plant without damaging the branches. This pruning will help with leaf growth along the inner branches making it sturdier to hold up in snow and ice conditions.

Other items that I cut for these arrangements were white pine and spruce evergreens, variegated pachysandra, variegated vinca vine, a few Purple Palace heuchera leaves, and English Ivy.


Top: white pine branches; Bottom: spruce  branches

First you want to soak your greens for several hours. I soaked mine for about 2 hours. This helps to clean them off and they will last longer in your arrangements if they are soaked first.

After soaking your greens, you will want to remove the lower leaves and branches that will be under the water. Then re-cut the stems at an angle so the branches will have a larger area to take up water.


Soaking in water
To add some color to your arrangements you could purchase some carnations which are available in several colors. Or you can add dried flowers, pine cones, or purchased decorations. Whatever suits you, and don't be afraid to experiment.















Note: Live floral arrangements are highly flameable. Do not place your arrangements near lighted candles or fireplaces. Also, to help your fresh arrangement last longer, keep out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Remove and/or replace any greenery that becomes dry or brittle. And some greenery may be toxic to pets or children so keep them out of their reach.




I am linking in with my friend, Donna Abel Donabella as she is hosting the garden bloggers Seasonal Celebrations. Check out her blog post and you also might want to check out some of the other garden bloggers as they join in for this event. Thanks for hosting this, Donna. Here is the link to Seasonal Celebrations - Winter Wonders

If you missed my blog post from last year on Christmas trees you might want to check it out at this link: We've Got Your Christmas Tree



"Christmas is forever, not for just one day, 
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself..."
~Norman Wesley Brooks 
(U.S. design engineer, 1923-2002)
"Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976



Feel free to leave a comment. 
Would love to hear from you!

22 comments:

  1. Beautiful I look forward to your blogs very week .
    Barb

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    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy them.

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  2. Lovely arrangements and super ideas!!

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    1. Thank you very much. I was lucky in that we've had some snow and then thaws so I didn't have to look under the snow for these materials . Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Beautiful arrangements. I hope to find some time to try to make an arrangement like these. These are so much more economical and more beautiful than store bought. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Kimberly. Yes, very economical and really adds a nice touch to your seasonal decorations. Very easy, too.

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  4. WOW I love these arrangements!! Very well done! So country looking!! Thank you for a wonderful Blog! Keep them coming!

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    1. Thank you, Martha. It was fun looking for these materials in my yard, some of which I never would have thought to use like the vinca vine. And the variegated plants add a little color and dimension as well.

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  5. Love the arrangements!!!!!! Inspired -yes.

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    1. Thank you, CJ. Would love to see some of your arrangements. You are so creative!

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  6. You certainly help to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Your arrangements are beautiful. I need our NY garden here to cut some fresh evergreens and dried flowers for the holidays in VA.

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    1. Hi LuLu, I was thinking of you when I wrote that information on the boxwoods. I only have one boxwood shrub, but I think I might get a few more. It seems as if the deer are leaving them alone and that's always a good thing around here. Hope we get a chance to get together over the holidays.

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  7. Love your arrangements! You are so creative.This is the time of year I miss having a northern garden.I love my tropical plants,but I do miss the northern plantings.Plus,I love your snowmen in the background.

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    1. Thank you, Chris. It would look more like a "northern garden" if there was snow in the background, but I'm not complaining. I love snowmen (and Santas); they always add such a festive look to your decorations. Thanks for commenting.

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  8. Hi Sue, your arrangements turned out great. This time of year the greens come indoors and brighten the holidays. I like the view out the window too.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I loved your blog post awhile ago on your beautiful arrangements and vases. They were very stunning and artistic. And I like how you highlighted them using the different lighting and backgrounds. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. Love your blog as always. I finally got a new camera, Nikon P600. Just trying to figure out all the features but sure enjoying the process. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Bobbie Hayek

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    1. Thank you, Bobbie! That's exciting that you got a new camera. You'll have to share some of your photos with me. Would love to see them.
      You have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, too! Have fun with that camera!

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  10. Fabulous arrangements Sue. One reason I want more evergreens in my garden is for winter interest, wildlife and winter arrangements. And thanks for joining in...I am flattered that I have inspired you a bit...sending lots of blogging hugs and love Sue!

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I enjoy reading your blog posts and your gardening book reviews. And I'm so impressed that you always find materials for a fresh vase even if you have to go out and get them under the snow. Thank you for hosting the Seasonal Celebrations post.

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  11. Thank you so much for visiting my blog via Donnas meme. I am a novice gardener living outside of Buffalo NY. I really enjoyed this post as I never thought of using boxwood in a vase. Of course my cats get into everything.... Michelle

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    1. HI Michelle, I'm by no means a professional gardener, but I've been gardening for awhile now and mostly by trial and error. I really enjoyed your blog as well, and other than gardening we both have a lot in common: I'm originally from Niagara Falls, NY.
      Looking forward to more of your blog posts. And thanks for stopping by.

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