As winter sets in, activities come inside and preparations for the holidays begin. Indoor spaces are invigorated when the essence of the outdoors is brought along. Since ancient celebrations, evergreens have been used as a reminder that life will be sustained through the darker months and will return with the blossoming of spring. Their lasting green color helps keep spirits alive during this period.
A base arrangement of evergreens will keep for three or four months if properly prepared and maintained. Kept fresh, it can be transformed to highlight the different moments from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day.
Gathering and Preparing the Branches
Evergreens are easy to find – perhaps in your own backyard or a local forest. Local nurseries are always well-stocked during this time. Greens from the trees that grow naturally in the area will tend to last longest.
There are many types to choose from. Gather a mix to give arrangements a variety. Pines, cedars, junipers, spruce and fir stand out. Arborvitae, hemlock, cypress and boxwood provide different textures and colors that easily blend.
Clip the branches cleanly with a sharp cutting tool. Then bang or crush the ends so they have more surface to draw water in. Immerse them into a bucket of room temperature water overnight to absorb as much moisture as possible before using them.
The Changing Themes
The lasting pleasure of an evergreen arrangement comes with its transformations throughout the holiday season.
For Thanksgiving, organic embellishments look best: tall fall flowers, nuts in their shells, fall fruits (including dried oranges) and berries (juniper or beautyberries).
As Christmas approaches add small pinecones, crabapples, holly, mistletoe or a fresh cranberry chain. Low arrangements can include red or white taper candles and small Christmas ornaments.
After Christmas, arrangements take on the beauty of winter with additions of small white “snow flowers” and crystal-like chains to suggest the sparkle of snow and ice. Try pine cones painted white and or pillar candles with bottoms wrapped in birch bark.
At the beginning of February, the arrangement can be re-awakened for Valentine’s Day with pink and red roses and some baby’s breath. The fragrance of these fresh blooms come with an air of spring and romance.
Make the arrangement last by misting it every few days and by keeping it safe from sun and heat.
Evergreen has a double meaning as something that lasts a long time. Jokes, television shows, books, and articles can all be considered evergreen. Now you now why!