Winter scenes of magnificent evergreens dusted with snow are a hallmark of the holiday season. As we make both the outdoor and indoor spaces of our homes festive and cozy, there’s no better way to harness some of that majesty than by incorporating winter greenery into your decorating. To give you the best tips on greenery, we chatted with Gertens gardening expert Cindy Wellman.
Woodbury Magazine: What are the best options for greenery?
Cindy Wellman: Spruce tips are a well-known staple when it comes to fresh greenery. These are harvested from boughs and hold up well in winter decorating outdoors. In addition, homeowners can expect to find a wide variety of pine, juniper, cedar, spruce, balsam as well as accent winter greenery including magnolia, oregonia, eucalyptus, dogwood branches, winterberry and birch poles.
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WM: Where can we include greenery around the house?
CW: Although porch pots are the most popular way to use fresh greenery, decorating can go further for added interest! Drape railings and mantels with garland, adorn your dining table for guests, hang swags and wreaths on walls indoor and out, and don’t forget light poles and mailbox posts to complete the look.
WM: Should we use artificial or real greenery?
CW: The question often arises, should I use fresh or fake greenery to decorate? Each of these have their place. Indoors, fake or life-like greenery can provide a long-lasting look without drying inside your home. Many textures and types of greenery have been manufactured that look and feel very real. Everything from trees and wreaths to garlands and smaller picks can be used for simple decorating without drying and shedding inside. Typically, the cost will be much higher than fresh product, but longevity is important. Fresh greenery can be easily used outdoors and provide you with a more cost-effective, natural look while giving that wonderful evergreen fragrance. If you choose to use fresh winter greenery and accents indoors, just know it will not be long lasting and should be used with caution around hot lights and candles.
WM: When nervous about greenery drying out and needles dropping, what to do?
CW: Many homeowners will wonder if their fresh greenery will last through the winter without drying. Most fresh greens inserted into soil will, absolutely! That is why it is very important when creating winter green containers that you fresh cut the stems and insert them into potting soil and moisten the soil not only to freeze them into place but to also supply a bit of moisture. Since greenery is a fresh product, it can dry out under certain
conditions, such as greenery you hang.
If your area is a west or south exposure, and has drying winter winds, you may wish to spray your foliage with an anti-desiccant such as Wilt Stop. This natural wax coating will help to prevent premature drying out of the greenery. It is natural, over time for fresh greenery to shed a bit, simple sweeping will remedy that.
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WM: What’s the best way to secure the greenery?
CW: When creating porch pots, inserting the greenery snuggly into potting soil, and moistening the soil when complete will freeze it into place for the winter months. Use wire, twist ties and even cable ties to hold accents like pinecones, berries, ribbons, lights and garlands where you want them.
Greenery Do’s and Don’ts
DO add fresh greenery to your winterscape, it is about six months till you can plant fresh color again.
DO embrace and enjoy the cold weather. It’s what keeps our fresh greens outdoors beautiful all the way through March!
DO choose cold weather tolerant containers that can handle our freeze and thaws.
DO use a variety of textures, colors and greenery to make your containers pop with interest.
DO be sure to add some bling, natural accents, ribbons and lights to add interest and personality.
DON’T skimp. You will be enjoying these containers as much as your spring, summer and fall ones.
DON’T use hot burning lights in your fresh greens, they can be a fire hazard. Opt for LED lights instead.
DON’T be afraid to create your own winter pots, and décor. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to design!