Gardener’s Corner: decks the halls with boughs of holly

November 27, 2013   ·   0 Comments

Using natural elements for holiday decor is a trendy and possibly inexpensive way to decorate. Red twig dogwood and boughs of pine, cedar, spruce and holly are available at a nursery or can be trimmed from trees and shrubs on your own property.

Pine cones and seed heads provide rustic additions and wiring the pine cones allows them to be placed anywhere on a branch.  For several years now small birch logs have found their way into designs as a strong vertical element.  When assembling a winter arrangement, just keep in mind that “less is more”.

Add a big fluffy bow for contrasting colour and there you have something festive for an urn or hanging basket by the front door.

Bring boughs inside for mantles and swagging along a staircase and include some fresh fruit perhaps. There are special clips that can be purchased to fit over the handrail and hold strings of evergreens in place. The new LED lights don’t get warm to the touch and arrangements can be made with exceptional faux candles on the market today.

Use pine cones surrounded by a bit of greenery for place card holders on the dinner table and add some sparkle by painting or spraying glitter on the tips of the cones.

For hostess gifts, potted plants and boxes of chocolates are old standbys but why not try something different this year!  Show your friends, or boss how clever you are by making a homemade offering.  Here is a recipe for Holiday Potpourri: 4 oranges, 4 lemons, 1/2 cup of cloves, 1/2 cup of whole allspice, 10 cinnamon sticks broken, 10 bay leaves crumbled, 4 jam jars with decorated lids.

Peel the fruit carefully, removing only the peel.  Cut it into 2.5 cm pieces and spread on a paper towel lined pan.  Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and place the pan inside.  Dry the peels for 1 1/2 hours turning occasionally. The peels should be leathery or crunch when done. Now spread them on clean paper towels to air dry for 24 hours. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and fill the jars, screwing the lids on securely. The lids can be decorated with rounds of festive fabric or coloured paper.

To use, remove the lid to fragrance a room or put one heaping tablespoon in a heat-proof container of boiling water.

There are endless ideas for homemade hostess gifts, especially if you browse Pinterest.  I like the layered dried soup mixes in a jar with a label to attach giving directions on how to prepare the soup. Cookie mixes can also be assembled this way.

Deck your halls with fresh boughs for a wintry scented home and try your hand at creating a homemade gifts.

By Judith Rogers




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