Winter Greens

Some evergreens are stately with slender needles gracefully sweeping down lengthy branches, while others are squatty and unruly with bushy gnarls studded with berries. Their presence on a snowy landscape is like a glorious chorus of color. Conifers remind us of our Creator, the Lord God Almighty, who like them is always vibrant and alive. Hosea 14:8 likens our Lord God to an evergreen. This Christmas, deck your house with His glorious creations.

Living plants bring festive holiday color and fragrance to a stale winter home. Select the best evergreens or other plant material based on their use, longevity and availability. For warm interior spaces consider pine, fir or cedar because they dry slowly and retain their needles. If properly treated and misted daily, these greens may last for several weeks. For outdoor use, try hemlocks, spruces and more durable evergreens.

Evergreens for holiday decorating:

Cedars: Deodar cedar, blue atlas cedar and cedar-of-Lebanon. Pleasing fragrance. Spikey, spiderlike needle clusters. Spray small cones with acrylic to seal cones and prevent pollen release at room temperature.

Firs: Short, flat needles with excellent retention and color preservation. Handles indoor climates well. Fragrant. Use fraser fir for wreaths and swags.

Junipers: Green or silver-blue foliage with short needles  and small blue berries. Very fragrant. Needles may be sticky.

Mountain Laurel: A broad-leaved evergreen best suited for outdoors. Common in the South for wreaths and garlands.

Spruce: Short, sharp needles on stiff branches with moderate needle retention. Use for wreaths. 

Virginia Pine: Short, coarse needles, long-lasting with excellent needle retention.

White Pine: A soft, bluish-green, long-needled pine. Excellent needle retention. Use for wreaths and garlands.

Other greens to incorporate:

Ivy: A vine that needs to be kept in water. Use in holiday arrangements.

Holly: A shiny green, scallop-leaved plant. Comes with green or variegated leaves. May have bright red berries. Do not allow holly to freeze. 

Boxwood: Small leaves with a fine texture. Use for wreaths and garland. Will dry out easily. 

Magnolia: Large leaves with glossy green uppers and velvety- brown underside. Maintains some moisture for a period without water. Used for wreaths and arrangements. Holds up best outdoors.

Myrtle: Varieties with small leaves best for indoors. Need damp soil and lots of light in winter. Make striking sculptural topiaries.

Cut sprigs of myrtle and insert into the wreath with floral pins. Soak the wreath in water every few days to help lengthen its life.
Wire lemon leaves into an evergreen garland to add fresh fragrance and a texture difference.
Cut sprigs of myrtle and insert into the wreath with floral pins, above left. Soak the wreath in water every few days to help lengthen its life. Wire lemon leaves into an evergreen garland, above right, to add fresh fragrance and a texture difference.
A doorway draped with fresh western red cedar garland sends a festive nod to the neighborhood. To finish the holiday look for your door, add a noble fir wreath highlighted by juniper with berries and ponderosa pine cones. For more color, add artificial berries, weatherproof ornaments and ribbon.
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A doorway draped with fresh western red cedar garland sends a festive nod to the neighborhood. To finish the holiday look for your door, add a noble fir wreath highlighted by juniper with berries and ponderosa pine cones. For more color add artificial berries, weatherproof ornaments and ribbon.

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Layer fresh western red cedar garland and artificial garland for a lush display with lasting beauty. Protect the mantel surface by covering it with waterproof canvas or nylon so it hides under the greens. Layer the garlands and integrate the branches so they look like one piece. Accent with ribbon and cones. For a voluminous garland, use noble fir or a mixed garland, or insert clippings from your Christmas tree to fill out the display.
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Merry Mantel

Layer fresh western red cedar garland and artificial garland for a lush display with lasting beauty. Protect the mantel surface by covering it with waterproof canvas or nylon so it hides under the greens. Layer the garlands and integrate the branches so they look like one piece. Accent with ribbon and cones. For a voluminous garland, use noble fir or a mixed garland, or insert clippings from your Christmas tree to fill out the display.

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A wreath placed on a chalkboard adds color and fragrance to the busiest room in the house, the kitchen. Aqua blue French ribbon picks up the blue cast of the juniper berries in the noble fir wreath.
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A wreath placed on a chalkboard adds color and fragrance to the busiest room in the house, the kitchen. Aqua blue French ribbon picks up the blue cast of the juniper berries in the noble fir wreath.

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Wrapped packages receive special treatment when sprigs of myrtle and seeded eucalyptus are tucked under ribbons.
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Wrapped packages receive special treatment when sprigs of myrtle and seeded eucalyptus are tucked under ribbons.

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Candles are set on mini wreaths of aromatic western red cedar. Make the wreaths by cutting sprigs of greenery and placing them on a glass candle base. Use tape to secure, as needed.
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Candles are set on mini wreaths of aromatic western red cedar. Make the wreaths by cutting sprigs of greenery and placing them on a glass candle base. Use tape to secure, as needed.

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Even an artificial tree can take on  the fresh fragrance of real evergreen. Spray boughs of fresh white pine with artificial snow, and slip them between  the artificial branches. The real  evergreens fill the room with pine scent while combining convenience  with tradition.
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Radiant Grace

Even an artificial tree can take on the fresh fragrance of real evergreen. Spray boughs of fresh white pine with artificial snow, and slip them between the artificial branches. The real evergreens fill the room with pine scent while combining convenience with tradition.

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Mixed greens of white pine, bells of Ireland and lemon leaves set off the white blooms of the roses, tulips and star of Bethlehem.
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Elegantly Set

Mixed greens of white pine, bells of Ireland and lemon leaves set off the white blooms of the roses, tulips and star of Bethlehem.

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Drape a balustrade with cedar garland accented with beaded garland, ribbons and ornaments.
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Grand Entrance

Drape a balustrade with cedar garland accented with beaded garland, ribbons and ornaments.

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