It’s easy to love the romance of the winter holidays in the country—the crackle of logs in the fireplace, a steaming mug of hot cocoa next to you, and fragrances of mulled cider mixing with fresh pine boughs and Christmas trees brought inside.
What’s that, you use the same tree every year?
This holiday season, bring the outside inside with your holiday decorations. It can be as easy as taking a walk with some gardening snips in your pocket.
The right time of year
Fortunately, not all holiday decor needs to be green. As early as September, just before things begin to die back, you can walk through your flower garden and trim the brightest stems that catch your fancy. Garsons, a noted British florist, offers the following advice on what to do next:
Cut flowers with stems at least 15cm (6in) long. Remove the leaves, tie a length of string to each stem and hang the flowers upside down in a dry, well-ventilated dark place for two to three weeks, until the flowers are dry and papery. Spray lightly with hairspray and store carefully.
Just find a place where they can hang inside undisturbed, air-drying, until ready to use. It should take around three weeks. Placing them in dried silica gel, available at craft shops, can be used as well, and often keeps flower color intact.
In your garden, or the neighbors’ once you have permission, look for cresses, statice, mums, strawflowers, baby’s breath, even lavender.
Let’s face it, though: Greens are the color of the season.
Pine, the smell of joy
The fresh, soothing scent of fresh pine actually has many fragrances. A white pine forest smells different from a Norway spruce, Fraser firs, or Scotch pine woodland. Some species are more subtle than others, while many are raised specifically for Christmas trees.
Will this be the year you leave the assemble-it-yourself tree in your attic and move to a real Christmas tree? The good news is that there should be plenty of supply this year, and only a small portion of wholesalers report significant price increases this season. The price is “worth it,” reports the Real Christmas Tree Board’s consumer research.
Any day now, look for seasonal lots to spring up—there’s nothing like the fragrance of a newly-displayed cut tree to put you in the holiday spirit.
“This isn’t one of those trees that all the needles falls off of, is it”?
“Nah, that’s them balsams.”
—From “A Christmas Story” by Jean Shepherd
There are more than 20 species of trees grown specifically for the holidays, but if you are searching for pure fragrance, lean toward balsams (which do not lose their needles any more than other species). Balsams are widely regarded for their ability to scent your home well into the new year.
Locally-grown trees, obviously, are the freshest, so don’t overlook the joy of visiting a choose-and-cut Christmas tree farm, where you can share the magic of nostalgia with children or grandchildren.
Home improvement centers often bring in Christmas trees, but if you really want to get the gardener’s inside scoop on trees, go to a garden center. They usually carry garlands, wreaths, and enough holiday flowers to dazzle most shoppers.
Your own Christmas present, delivered
There’s an alternative for those who want to decorate but don’t have the skills: Go online.
Numerous online companies have professional designers to help you decide, and pre-ordering early (hint, today) gets you on the list for the freshest and most timely delivery to your home.
For example, Lynch Creek Farm of Shelton, Wash. offers beautiful fresh and dried decor that embraces the spirit of the season—wreaths, garlands, swags, and even pre-decorated mini-Christmas trees for the tabletop.
Christmas garlands are a traditional decoration perfect for your front door, fireplace mantel, or banister. Garland-making is challenging for even experienced floral professionals, so placing an order couldn’t be easier. And you have plenty of choices.
Lynch Creek Farm’s are handmade from fresh evergreen branches such as cedar or white pine, noble fir, and Fraser fir and decorated with other materials such as pine tree sprigs, red berries, and magnolia leaves.
Lynch Creek Farm only trims branches—not entire trees—making it a sustainable business. Their evergreen boughs come mostly from the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, near Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Plus, it’s a true local business, with one talented bow-maker who has been on staff for more than 25 years!
Learn more about Lynch Creek Farm’s offerings at lynchcreekwreaths.com or by calling 888-426-0781.