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.
Written by Wanda Ventling | Photographed by Greg Scheidemann