Archive for Holiday Design

How to Decorate a Container for the Holidays

Painted magnolia in a hose pot
GATHER MATERIALS:
Container
Chicken wire
Clippers
Tape
Magnolia
Paint
Gloves
Greenery

Condition greenery by soaking in water for a few hours or overnight

Cut chicken wire to use as a floral frog

Container to make arrangement in. I used this old hose pot.

Form chicken wire to serve as a floral frog. Tape down to secure.

Begin stuffing floral frog with conditioned greenery

Paint magnolia Crimson Red

Painted magnolia in a hose pot

When in doubt, add more!  Now that you have the hang of it, tie your outdoor decorations together by adding red elsewhere.

Unleash your inner painter. These magnolia leaves were used in a window box

Don't stop with magnolia; these pine cones were used in garland around a door

So you see, little is needed to create awesome Christmas decorations.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her businessGardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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How-to Decorate a Birdbath for the Holidays

When it comes to decorating a birthbath for the Holidays, the best way is with water.  Natural, fresh, unfrozen water is the best thing you can add to your birdbath.  Fresh water for the wildlife is fashionable in any season.

Lucky for us at Helen’s Haven, we have 9 birdbaths, so turning one into a fabulous decoration for 3 weeks or so is fun, festive, and easy to do.  We also find comfort in knowing our wildlife will not go without.


A little of this and a little of that is all it takes to make a big impression…just using snips from the garden.  If you don’t have the materials used here, regional substitutions are not only OK, it’s preferred!

Oh yes, as always, the clippings from the bottom of the Christmas tree come in handy as filler.
Birdbath
GATHER MATERIALS
Chicken wire
Tape
‘Winter Red’ holly
Leyland Cypress
Fraser Fir
Magnolia leaves
Cut chicken wire to form a floral frog

Form a pillow shaped flora frog out of chicken wire

Secure floral frog with tape. Duct tape works well.

Start adding greenery around the edges.  In this design, Leyland and fir were used at the base.

Winter Red was added to the design for color and height.

Keep adding greenery until you are satisfied.  When in doubt, add more!

Birdbath detail

Place at the front entrance or where you can view from the inside.  This fresh design will bring color to your winter garden.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her businessGardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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How to Create a Boxwood Topiary for Your Holiday Decorations

Now is the perfect time to prune boxwood making good use of these snips to create a beautiful holiday decoration.  Creating a boxwood topiary is easy to do and long-lasting.

Gather materials:

  • A topiary form purchased from a craft store.
  • Cranberries purchased from the grocery store.
  • 4 inch snips of boxwood from a bush in your garden (or a friends’.)  It always seems to take more than you need.  Snip generously.  Any left over can be discarded into a wildlife brush pile.
  • An ice pick is helpful tool to “pre-drill” holes for the boxwood topiary.
  • Terracotta pot.

Topiary form

Filling in the form with boxwood

"Pre-drill" holes with an ice pick helps allow box to enter form easily

Almost complete

Because of the generous size, the box ball makes,  the base become out of scale.  As such, slipping this base into a larger pot balances the design.


Finished!

Box dries nicely so nothing is needed to keep your topiary looking good.

Top with cranberries and voila!

Enjoy.

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Book of Six © Six Easy Pieces to Create Awesome Christmas Decorations

Conditioning greens before use

Greenery conditioning prior to use

The Wake Forest Garden Club invited me to speak at their December meeting about decorating for the holidays.   That was my only charge.  I got to talk about anything on the subject, so I choose to base the topic on what was typically growing in our southern backyards.

Being a gardener, this will always be my bent.  I’m not a florist.  Using what is available in the garden rocks my world.

Walking around your garden, the neighborhood, or when visiting with friends, note the greenery, sticks, berries, pods and cones.  With a little guidance, snips from these sources will decorate your home in no time.

Boxwood

Chamaecyparis ‘Golden Mop’

Cryptomeria ‘Green Dragon ’

Deodar Cedar

English Ivy

Eucalyptus

Hemlock

Holly –  Nellie R. Stevens, Savannah, Winterberry

Hydrangea heads, dried

Juniper especially with Berries

Leyland Cypress

Ligustrum Berries

Magnolia

Nandina berries

Poet’s Laurel

Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood

Rose hips

Smilax

White Pine/needles and cones

Plus Cones, pods, seeds heads and Christmas tree cuttings

For the folks in Wake Forest, I made several arrangements

using very little variety. Yet, they were all different and

unique. Add in a little spray paint and what can be found

at the grocery store, and your designs can be complete

without ever tieing a bow.

Most of these types of decorations can be made with six

pieces or less.

  1. A base form or chicken wire formed to use as a floral frog.
  2. 1 – 3 Greenery
  3. Paint
  4. Cranberries

Boxwood topiary

The boxwood topiary uses clippings from an English boxwood and cranberries from the grocery store.

Birdbath

Birdbath detail

The birdbath uses ‘Winter Red’ holly, magnolia, Leyland, and Fraiser fur.

Painted magnolia in a hose pot

Painted magnolia detail

The hose pot uses painted magnolia, unpainted magnolia, and Leyland.

So you see, little is needed to create awesome Christmas decorations.  My next post will give step-by-steps instructions for creating each of these three designs

Shelia and others from the Wake Forest garden club, thank you for having me.


Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Merry Christmas Y’all 2008

Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, NC

I have the lucky job of finding, producing, styling and writing about beautiful gardens.  I even get to create new garden and holiday design trends…but the above photo, taken on the road of my carpool commute, gives me great pleasure.  It isn’t typical of the style I present to my readers, but hey I like it.  Every year, I watch as this display is added to and built.  It just tickles me.  Tonight after Christmas Mass, we stopped and stared, which is our tradition.  It was a happy, pleasant moment.

Merry Christmas, y’all

Helen Yoest and the Philbrook Family

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Someday at Christmastime

Merry Christmas to all!

My Christmas message is brought to you by Stevie Wonder in his Christmas song Someday at Christmas.

Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December our hearts will see
A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life’s really worth
There’ll be peace on earth

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me

But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas we’ll see a land
with no hungry children, no empty hands
One happy morning people will share
a world where people care

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no tears
All men are equal and no man has fears
One shining moment, my heart ran away
From our world today

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
hate would be gone and love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me

But someday at Christmastime
Someday at Christmastime

I’lll spend my Christmas with my family, near and dear.  I will also remember those before me in my prayers and pray for our troops.

Merry Christmas!

Helen Yoest

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Why do we kiss under the Mistletoe?

december-30-2008-187

Common Name: American Mistletoe

Scientific Name: Phoradendron serotinum


There is a lot to be said about Mistletoe, but the focus of this post is  on Christmas and kissing.  I like the sound of that- Christmas and kissing – sort of like Charles Schultz’s  Lucy liking the sound of money being dropped in her cash box.

How did this come about, you wonder?  So did I.  december-30-2008-181

A lot of interesting tidbits surfaced when researching this.  As we know, Mistletoe is a hemiparasitic in that it is a green plant that photosynthesizes its own food while simultaneously getting water and nutrients from the host tree via thin root-like structures called haustoria.

Also birds are attracted to the white, sticky berries.   My kids are getting really good at spotting it in the trees…this is new from last year.

To dissect the word takes the romance out of it, so I want to skip that part.

To get back to the romance, Mistletoe is reputed to have powers to increase human fertility.  Bingo!

Kissing under the mistletoe is believed to have started with the Celtic notion that mistletoe improved fertility.  I’m going to interject that most likely this was realized insitu – while the mistletoe was still in the tree and two young lovers met there and well, did a little more than kissing.  I guess as traditions evolved and morals relaxed, why not bring it inside where it’s warm?december-30-2008-189 Merry Christmas and Kissmas to all!

 

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