Why run to the grocery store or florist when it’s time to decorate—how about going out into your garden? ( much less stress then Garden Ridge) With a pair of clippers and a little imagination you’ll find a lot of decorating material for your table, your vases, your tree— even your packages. Simple and lovely treasures –and your guests will think you are so clever! It is best to gather after
10AM when the dew droplets have dried up. Don’t forget to take a basket or something to carry all the goodies that you will find while you are there.

In our mild climate there could even be a flower or two hanging on—Camellias, cool season Roses, Pansies, Dianthus, Stems of Rosemary-be creative as you trim—all sorts of great Ideas will come to you.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started

Holly stems with berries to add to a table runner with tea light candles and ornaments—makes a great table decoration that your guests can see over. Holly stems and berries also make great candle wreaths—Work with freshly cut stems so they are flexible if you need to shape them- and hot glue the pieces together to hold them in place if you need to.

Nandina-some have decorative seeds and berries-all have colorful foliage that dries perfectly. If placed in an area where direct sun doesn’t hit them the color will last for years. All you have to do to use Nandinas in a fresh or dried bouquet is just cut them and place them as you want them to be in the arrangement- no need to hang them upside down.

Ornamental Grasses- turn silver, gold, copper in winter and last for years just follow the same directions as nandinas—since they are already dry and stiff because of the freezes they are user ready.

Elaeagnus’s long stems are wonderful wreath bases and the silver leaves hang on for about 2 weeks. Elaeagnus also adds drama to a vase of flowers. If making wreath bases or shaping for another reason work with freshly cut stems—they become very stiff in a few hours. They last a long time if cut and added to fresh arrangements. The leaves start to shed in dry arrangements in about 2 weeks.

Ivy-cut long stems of ivy to tuck into a vase with fresh flowers or to lay out dry on the Christmas table with dried roses.
Cut herbs like rosemary, thyme, lavender ,sage and make little tufts or bouquets to stick into holly and ivy drifts on the table—or cut as longer stems and tuck into fresh floral arrangements to add fragrance to the Christmas table. Herbal bouquets
also make great package decorations and additions to wreaths. Be brave—just make your little bouquets and attach them to a package or work them into the ribbon—they will shed a little after a few days –no one seems to mind. Lavender stems are a favorite for this-they hold their leaves & the fragrance just gets better the longer they dry.
Pine cones and Sweetgum Balls—you can use them to decorate in their natural form or spray paint them to add to wreaths or the Christmas table-use hot glue to make your creation.
If you want to add a little sparkle to fresh Roses that you are decorating with—spray them with spray on glitter—it is a beautiful effect and doesn’t spoil the roses at all—you can even dry the roses later ( see the November 15th issue on how to dry roses) or press the petals.
Tip-a teaspoon of Listerine in a quart vase delays the growth of bacteria that can spoil your fresh blooms.

Have fun with these ideas—it also is a great idea for a holiday get together– to share garden clippings and ideas with friends—have everyone bring what they have to share from their gardens and scraps of ribbons- etc. and throw it all on a big table and have a make & take party. Brew up a pot of Earl Gray tea
and add milk ( not cream) and Brown Sugar—I and my friends have done this often and it is a fun day.

Have a very Merry Christmas Holiday—–

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