As soon as things start to freeze up and my outdoor garden goes on winter break, I scratch the gardening itch by decking out the house in fresh evergreen decor for the holidays. Indoors and outdoors, there are so many ways to use winter greens to spruce up your home (pun 100% intended). I can’t help but go a little bit overboard with the greenery””after all, it smells amazing, and that’s what makes the real stuff so much nicer than plastic decorations.
Salisbury Greenhouse is the go-to shop for fresh evergreen decor in Alberta, whether you’re looking for pre-assembled decorations that are ready to be hung, or freshly cut sprigs and branches to create your own DIY decor. Here’s a crash course in all things evergreen, including a list of popular types of winter greenery, how to preserve them, and creative new ways to integrate them into your decor.
2020 Trends for Decorating with Evergreen Cuttings
To pull off your holiday decorating like a pro, take a look at some of these trends and creative techniques for decking the halls.
Mix Varieties for Fragrance: If it’s the amazing scent that you’re after, opt for stronger scented varieties like pine, cedar, balsam, and eucalyptus, and mix them together for a more complex, layered aroma.
Add Citrus Accents: Dried slices of oranges and lemons add a bright pop of colour and a burst of citrus scent to winter garlands and wreaths. You can also use small whole fruits to add into larger wreaths with sturdy branches, or you can pile them up around a centrepiece.
Kissing Balls: Instead of the traditional mistletoe sprig, create one of these spherical ornaments by sticking a bunch of small boxwood cuttings into a potato. The potato actually provides moisture for the cuttings, so they don’t dry up immediately! Add little accents like holly berries or tiny bells, and string it up with a decorative ribbon.
Go Minimalist: Sometimes, the simplest pieces can make the boldest impact. One single large branch hung up on the wall with twine looks surprisingly elegant!
Shaggy Chic: For something a little less old fashioned and a little more high fashion, opt for shaggier, long-needled varieties like white pine or red cedar, and hang them as garlands loosely around fixtures in the house. The slightly unkempt look really seems to work for winter garlands and door swags, so don’t worry about trying to achieve perfect symmetry.
Deck Out the Chandelier: Weave plenty of branches into your chandelier, and make sure they hang down””it adds a little extra drama. You can even add other accents as you would with a wreath, like berries, ornaments, and ribbons.
Fill the Window Boxes: While our beautiful summer annuals are long since gone and our window boxes are vacant for the season, we might as well fill them up with some cut branches to add some winter colour and curb appeal!
Types of Christmas Greenery
There are many different varieties of wintergreens, and some have better tolerances for different temperatures. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and beautiful cut greens that you can use for decorative purposes this holiday season and the best ways to use them, so you don’t end up with a pile of needles on the floor:
- Boxwood: This classic Christmas foliage plant is actually a shrub covered with lush clusters of tiny leaves that are great for indoor and outdoor use. They’re quite lovely in mixed arrangements and wreaths for varied texture. These greens don’t have any sharp needles, and their form is a bit more compact, so you can have more control over the shaping of your decorations. Boxwood has a strong scent that is loved by many, but some folks are a bit sensitive to it, so you might want your family to do a sniff test before bringing a bunch into the house.
- Spruce: A cold-hardy variety that’s perfect for outdoors, but be careful when handling because it’s quite sharp. Spruce is often used for arrangements in outdoor urns to flank entryways and staircases, and its sturdiness makes it good for fastening heavier ornaments.
- Cedar: The citrus scent released from cedar cuttings is quite nice for indoors, but since it’s also very cold tolerant, you can use them all over the house outdoors. Male plants will have small pinecones, which you’ll want to spray with a layer of lacquer, so they don’t release pollen in your home. Cedar has that shaggier draping effect that’s very in style right now, so it’s great for dramatic DIY door swags.
- Fraser Fir: While many varieties of fir are often used for decorating, the Fraser fir is especially popular for garlands because it’s very heat tolerant and holds onto its needles well. It has tighter, more dense branches of needles that have a more traditional, classic Christmas look.
- Pine: White and red pine are often used for door swags, mixed arrangements, and garlands because their longer, shaggy needles have a beautiful texture. They do tend to be a bit more delicate, so they can’t hold heavy ornaments. A long, wispy length of pine can be arranged in a serpentine pattern in the centre of your dining table as an easy, elegant centrepiece that doesn’t block anyone’s view. Add a few ornaments, pinecones or oranges into the mix for some colour.
- Juniper: This variety is best for outdoor ornaments as it is super cold hardy, but it doesn’t hold up quite as well in high heat. If you use it indoors, try to keep it far away from heaters or vents. Juniper has an especially potent, nostalgic fragrance and pretty little blue berries. It’s also a bit more on the prickly side, so you may want to wear gloves when handling.
- Eucalyptus: This ultra-modern ornamental plant has coin-shaped foliage with a strong herbal scent that lasts whether it’s alive or dried. Though it dries quickly, it still looks beautiful, especially in mixed arrangements in vases and urns. You can also loosely tie eucalyptus branches with florist wire for a trendy take on a classic garland.
Preserving Evergreens with Glycerin
To create real winter arrangements that last long term, broadleaf evergreen plants like boxwood, magnolia and holly can be preserved with a glycerin solution. To make them, you just need to boil one part glycerin and two parts water, fill up a large vase or container that’s big enough to fit the entire branch and let it soak for 2″“6 weeks until all of the leaves and branches have absorbed the mixture. You’ll know when they’re ready once the colour has changed””preserved evergreens undergo a really cool colour change process, sometimes turning shades of pale green, black, or gold!
This holiday, fill your home with that amazing wintery pine scent which no soy candle, plugin air freshener, or oil diffuser could ever possibly compare. Visit Salisbury to snatch up some of the available wintergreen cuttings for DIY projects, or pick up some of our premade wreaths and arrangements for 100% fuss-free holiday swag. Delivery and curbside pickup available upon request!