Deck the halls with boughs of holly…
My wife and I followed this advice when decorating our house in Illinois. Our garden included an overgrown and meandering holly (Ilex spp.) that had the characteristic lovely green foliage and bright red berries. As part of our effort to tame this shrub, we pruned it several times per year. In the late fall, we used the pruned branches to decorate our home. It was cost effective, took care of a landscape maintenance task and brought holiday cheer into our home.
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (Ford House) has a large and diverse landscape to utilize as materials for holiday decorations. Some of the gardener’s favorites include white pine (Pinus strobus), red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericia), Boxwood (Buxus spp.), Yew (Taxus spp.) and Ozark Witchhazel (Hamamelis viriginiana).
These materials are harvested as part of routine pruning regimen and used for the holiday decorations in and around Ford House. Sometimes, we may lose a tree to natural phenomenon, but gain something beautiful. For example, Ford House lost part of a white pine when super storm Sandy blew through metro Detroit. The remains of the white pine were used for the window boxes peppered with red twigs of dogwood.
I challenge you to find landscape materials in your own backyard that can be used for holiday decorating. Here are some common landscape greens that can be used:
- Yews-wreaths and swags
- Pines-wreaths, roping and garland
- Juniper-wreaths, swags, vase arrangement
- Cedar-wreaths and garland
- Boxwood-filler for wreaths and arrangements
- Holly-faux mistletoe, accents to wreaths and swags
Many of us have the resources in our own landscape to make lovely holiday decorations while taking care of our landscape maintenance at the same time. Perhaps you can make this a family affair and unleash the creativity of the child inside all of us and share some time together. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?