Looking around at the garden center there are just so many beautiful holiday planters you can buy to create a festive welcome at your home. These planters are exceptionally easy to make yourself with some found clippings around the garden or even the bottom branches of your Christmas tree!
When you think of holly you undoubtedly will associate it with Christmas. If you have one on your property you may also think Ouch! and Ugh! The two sentiments I utter when a) getting stabbed by the leaves and b) when I have to clean up the leaves that just won’t compost and pluck out all the volunteers around the garden.
But it’s at this time of year, when the holly tree is just packed with glowing red berries, that it’s hard not to appreciate her beauty.
I’m always grateful when some kind soul brings me a bouquet of flowers. Not simply because of the gesture, but also because I can take apart the bouquet and make many flower RE-arrangements to brighten up my house.
Many florist creations are works of art that require nothing but a vase of water and a prominent location in the house. However some, frankly, are just plain bad. There are good plants in there but without any artistry tying them together it’s a shame to let those beautiful blooms end their life in such a sad way.
Take this bouquet for instance.
The Christmas tree that graces the Garden Therapy house this year is not a huge, lush, extravagantly-adorned spectacle as it has been in the past. Nope, this year we almost didn’t put up a tree. I was feeling a bit grinchy and will admit that the holidays have been difficult in the past, the last few years in particular. So this year the plan was to just skip Christmas all together, keep busy through the winter and pop out on the right side of Spring, ready to get diggin’ again.
You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch / You’re the king of sinful sots / Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots / Mr. Gri-inch! / You’re a three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!
But then and idea hit me. Like a vision appearing before me it was suddenly clear as day: a Grinch Tree. A tree design that celebrates not just the joy and wonder of the season, but celebrates the difficulties and challenges as well.
If those little Who’s could sing their hearts out in tough times, then so can I. I bought a potted cedar and rigged it up by pruning and re-attaching some branches so that the ball on the top would hang over just right. The perfect green ball and ribbon were easy to find.
The decorations are a combination of simple white lights, wooden ornaments, felted acorns, and kitchy silver disco balls. And the base is wrapped simply in burlap with a big green bow.
Ready for your weekend project? It’s holiday-themed planters this week and a quick tour of our front door, decorated for the season in non-traditional but natural tones of deep green, eucalyptus blue, and golden yellow.
It just didn’t feel like a red and green year for the holiday planters and wreath. Somewhat inspired by the golden berries and seeded eucalyptus stems that were found at the garden centre but also a unique contrast to the Bloodgood Japanese Maple-coloured front door, the pale green of the house, and the rustic tones of burlap which the planters are wrapped in.
Every year we like to hang a different wreath on our front door during the holidays. We’ve amassed a collection of wreaths to match the holiday season trends of sparkly red berries, Christmas ornaments, peacock feathers, and square-shaped boxwood but my favorites are most certainly natural, fresh wreaths.
A fresh wreath makes for an individual work of art that smells as good as it looks. Florists and garden centers are wonderful places to find one to suit any style but if you are feeling adventurous, a homemade wreath made with garden clippings or purchased greens, can be most gratifying.
Given the current popularity of lateral space gardening, there are supplies available for all sorts of wreath plantings. Evergreen, succulent, moss, and flower wreaths are beautiful micro gardens that will suit most any style or climate. Care will vary depending on what type of planting you decide on, but many will last for months, if not years, with a couple weekly squirts of a spray bottle.
Here’s how to make one:
- evergreen foliage
- grapevine wreath
- berries, twigs, pinecones, ribbons (optional)
Step 2: Using a grapevine wreath as your base, start by choosing a firm branch with stem thick enough that it will not bend easily. Add other cuttings of different foliage on top and gather the bunch in your hand. Snip off any long stems.
Step 3: Using the twine, wrap around the bunch and the grapevine wreath together a few times until secured. For the first bunch, tie a knot in the twine to hold it in place but do not cut the end of the twine.
Step 4: Gather a second bunch of foliage. Lay this bunch overlapping the twine securing the first bunch to the wreath. Wrap twine around the base of the new bunch a few times and set down. Continue adding foliage to the wreath by overlapping the previous bunch and securing with twine until there are no more gaps to fill.
Step 5: Secure the final bunch by gently lift the foliage from the first bunch and tuck the stems under it. Secure with twine and tie off the final bunch with a few knots.
Step 6: Now take a last look at the wreath. You can tuck in a few more greens to even out the design or add a few embellishments such as pinecones (using florist wire to attach them), berries, ribbons, or even ornaments.
A special thanks to the wonderful neighbourhood gals who provided all the foliage, wine, and treats that go along with the annual wreath-making afternoon.