Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Greening Up For The Holidays

Wouldn't you think "greening up" is an ecological term regarding our environment?  In the holiday container business it means building your container from the bottom up with greens, at least three types.

I attended a workshop at a local nursery this past weekend.  The weather was unusual in that it began in the middle 50's with a slight drizzle, and before I left the wind had whipped up and the temperature dropped into the low 40's.

Begin with the heavier evergreen branches such as Noble Fir

Now work in a triangle form for your other greens such as boxwood, huckleberry and variegated cedar.

Noble fir branches are recommended as a base because they are firm and strong, then interspersed with boxwood or red huckleberry in a triangle pattern, sort of like you would plant perennials, lastly with incense cedar or variegated cedar, or other evergreens like scotch pine or Fraser fir.  When the greening up is completed this is the time to spray with a product like Wilt Pruf (other brands on the market).

Noble Fir branches are usually sold whole (they look like a flat Christmas tree) cut in half for putting into containers.

Variegated and Incense Cedar

This is a display of small evergreens to add to your containers

Now is is embellishment time, pine cones, berries, magnolia leaves, winterberry, etc.  Do not spray a Wilt Pruf product on any berries, or they will turn black and have an early demise, magnolia leaves will become spotted.



Magnolia Leaves

Seed Pods (These hold up from year to year)

Tinted Eucalyptus


Winterberry (expensive but striking in an arrangement) do not spray with Wilt Pruf, berries will discolor.

Dried Pomegranate on placement sticks (I had to cut mine to fit in the smaller pots around the boxwood)

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus (This will not stay green through the winter).

Dried artichoke

Eucalyptus Pods

Cut all of your greens on an angle, sink into soil and water well when completed.  They will eventually freeze in place.  It was not recommended to use an oasis as they will deteriorate over the winter.  However, last year I had oasis in my cast iron planters in a plastic bowl and they were fine.

This is a huge planter, not one that most of us would have on our property, but it does give us a good idea of how many different elements go into an arrangement to make it interesting.

A smaller arrangement that most of us can relate to

Grapevine spheres, some painted and some natural

The greening up is completed, sprayed the Wilt Pruf and then began adding the embellishments - not done yet!

I painted my dried hydrangeas with Ace Hardware Burgundy colored outdoor spray paint and an indoor antique gold/green spray (which I had to seal with a clear coat because it wasn't for outdoors). 

Painted spheres and hydrangeas

This is a completed arrangement, lots of materials used and expensive.  Many of the embellishments can be kept from year to year.

Birch branches are usually preferred to spray paint because they are finer than the dogwoods.

Boxwood with Pomegranate (I may put in a little moss to soften the look)

Seeded cedar awaiting something unusual, I'm working on it!

I think this one may be completed

Before I left, I noticed the grass in the nursery yard swaying in the strong winds, looked just like a prairie!