Friday, December 2, 2016

More Greenery Please

December is the month it truly sinks in that the landscape is mostly motionless shades of brown and grey. Your view outside may seem more lively if you have conifers to draw attention away from the dormant plants. Note to self - if outdoor greenery is in short supply plant more evergreens next spring. And throw in some ornamental grasses and shrubs that add not only texture, color and movement, but some contour and good hiding places for birds to hang out...keep a close eye on those cats!

Enduring winter isn't all bad, we know we have to have cold months to get to spring, plus we can get our green fix in other ways - you just need to look around for greenery in the form of freebies or low cost DIY tree cutting or shopping around. Release your creativity side even if you don't have the natural knack, I sure don't. Here's what I do...

Internet Photo from
I look for free or low cost greenery at the Christmas tree lots that spring up immediately after Thanksgiving. They usually have a bin of excess branches that were cut to shape the tree. You will mostly find Frasier or Noble fir branches, but if you call around, you might find other types of conifers.

If you get a Colorado permit to cut your own Christmas tree in state and national forests, you get up to five permits per person ($10.00 each permit) so you'll have plenty of greens for use back at home. The permits are for trees, so use one of the permits for an extra tree that can be cut up into branches. Garden centers, grocery stores and box stores also carry bundled greens for use in all kinds of indoor and outdoor decorating - wreaths, boughs, swags and winter floral arrangements. 
Internet Photo from

So you've got your greens, now what?  First of all, realistically they'll only last a few weeks after Christmas unless you're diligent about spritzing with water or using anti-desiccant commercial sprays. It's Colorado after all, home of mostly year round fifteen percent humidity. Better add to your list another tube of moisturizer.

Here are some greenery tips - 
  • For holiday cheer deck the table setting, front door, mantle and all through the house with fresh greenery (artificial works too, pine fragrance sold separately).
  • There are many evergreens to choose from, but the best scents come from Scotch pines, Balsam, Douglas and Frasier firs. Stay away from white spruce, their needles don't smell nice when crushed. The aroma from eastern red cedar can't be beat, but these Christmas trees generally aren't sold in our area.
  • Before you decorate with greenery first get them well hydrated - fill a bucket with room-temperature, non-softened water to hold the greens.
  • With a hand pruner make diagonal cuts through the stems, and then using a small hammer gently crush the exposed end, this will help with water uptake.
  • Set the stems back in the water for a few hours before making a wreath, swag or boughs to hang, then decorate. You'll need twine or wire to attach branches, plus bows, ornaments and any other holiday adornments.  
  • Supplement arrangements inside or out with juniper, eucalyptus, lavender sprays, rosemary cuttings, twigs and branches, dried fruits, dried flowers and pine cones. Use artificial materials or flowers to fill in if less fresh greenery is available. The possibilities are many, just check on Pinterest or Houzz for thousands of ideas. And don't forget the lights.
  • Using greenery and other seasonal props in outside containers is a festive way to celebrate the holidays and spark up dreary empty pots. I recommend removing spent annuals and some soil well before the soil freezes so it's easier to fill and decorate. If the outdoor containers are frozen solid, then just layer in the greenery or if there's room drop in a greenery pot that was assembled indoors.
  • Caution on clay or glazed outdoor containers. Eventually they may crack from the Colorado freeze thaw cycles, but if you are leaving them outside anyway and not covering them or elevating them from direct cold from the ground, then by all means give them a pop of winter decor. Plastic, concrete and metal containers should weather just fine.
Winter Outdoor Container Ideas -

Assorted Layered Greenery Urn

Curly Willow, Spruce Branches and Ilex

Cardinal Dogwood, Spruce and Ilex

Internet Photo from Pinterest
Simple Outdoor Design with Birch, Greens and Pine Cones from Pinterest

Snow on Curly Willow and Spruce Greenery

 Wishing you a joyous holiday season. I'll return for a few more blogs before year's end. 

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