Decorate you home for the holidays with some evergreens. Why? Because during the holidays it is too easy to stress out and overspend your budget. One way to save your nerves and your budget is to do some free to low cost decorating with evergreens.
Evergreens are Healthy and Cost Cutting
There are positive health benefits of filling your home with nature and plants. Plants are “green” decorations in more than mere color. Plants are environmentally friendly, and if cut, recyclable.
Freshen Your Home With Evergreen Boughs
Where to get FREE evergreens? All the tree cutting places I have ever asked at will let you salvage the left-over cut branches. It saves them from hauling them off to the dumpster. Come to think – saves you as the taxpayer – no need to fill our landfill with something that can be easily recycled into something pretty.
Boughs of evergreens are a wonderful way to decorate. They will last two to three weeks, filling the air with their fresh fragrance. Don’t feel like a decorator diva? No worries! Cut boughs can simply be placed in containers of water. Just get a container size that won’t tip. Anywhere from small vases to large buckets. Pines, cypress, olives, and juniper will all last several weeks in a dry arrangement too. “Dry” means a wreath or swag that isn’t watered.
Decorate Your Decorations
Swags, wreaths, or vases of evergreens can be “spruced” up in many ways. If you have some – use berry-covered branches of pyracantha. They are related to apples and are which are covered in bright red-orange berries right now. Ignore that whole scare “toxic” thing. The berries will give you a belly ache if you eat them raw, but they can be cooked into jelly. Nandina berries look good too – but they should not be eaten, and you have to keep out of reach of household pets and children.
You could decorate your swag of boughs with Southwestern items like agave pods, yucca stalks, hesperaloe pods, mesquite beans, small colorful gourds, dried poppy pods, or even those Ponderosa pine cones from your last trip up Mt. Lemmon (named after Sara Lemmon, a botanist).
Fresh fruit can be used in wreaths and swags. Try lemons, small oranges, tangerines, or limes. Run a thin wire or floral pick into the fruit for attaching to your creation. This decoration can be later recycled by placing it the yard for the birds to feed on. The needles will dry and fall, adding nicely acidic organic matter to your soil, a good thing with our alkaline desert soils.
Take a Walk
Go out for a walk and see what wild plant pods you find. Painted or gilded seed pods and flower heads can be a creative game for children (of all ages!).
Really test the creativity of the kids – try to find the most unusual mesquite bean or Texas mountain laurel bean shape. Can you find a camel? How about a giraffe or a “wiener” dog? With some pipe cleaner legs and wiggly eyes, you can have a truly unique nativity scene with all sorts of animals. Some animals may need some painting, but most animals are “natural color.” Of course, you can also visit the hobby store for pine cones. Kids love to coat them with glue and glitter.
String Some Fun
Have you ever strung cranberries and popcorn? Or cranberries alone? It does look pretty, and the birds will recycle it for you after the holidays. Perhaps you could even decorate an outdoors tree just for the birds. Popcorn and cranberry strands are easy to make with a darning needle and mint green dental floss. The secret is to put the needle through the cranberry “eye” not the middle. They stay strung better.
Enjoy the Season
The main thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the season. Old expectations may rattle their chains and try to haunt you, but take it easy, and take it slow. Surround yourself with the natural world. When you start to feel stressed, take a deep breath, and rest your eyes and spirit with the beauty of nature.
Need some Garden Help?
May I recommend my (out of print) book? This valuable Month By Month Guide offers tips for your landscape (yes even lawns and roses) in every month of the year. I have a few copies left and am offering them to you – my loyal readers. Price is what you would pay on Amazon – only when you buy from me you get a signed copy!
From the review:
“A great reference book is key to successful gardening in the region where you live. takes the guesswork out of gardening for anyone residing in the Southwest. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to enjoy a thriving garden all year, from January to December. Chronologically organized, this guide is full of critical gardening when-to and how-to advice, along with illustrated step-by-step instructions.”
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