Trimming for the Holidays
by Carrie Paulk
Description: Ideas for decorating your home for the holidays with evergreen trimmings.
Pruning your landscape plants does not always have to be a
drag. By saving your plant cuttings and using them as
decorations in the home, you end up hitting two birds with
one stone, and both your yard and your abode look the better
Though you can decorate your interior with your landscape
trimmings any time of the year, the holiday season is the
best time for it. After all, it's during the holidays when
we have house guests upon house guests coming through our
homes and making lovely comments on the decorating, whether
they truly like it or not. Being able to deck your halls
with the flora and fauna from your own backyard will impress
even old Aunt Ethel, whose pessimism is family lore.
And now, to search the yard for some suitable holiday
trimming for the home. Don't let the fact that it is winter
discourage you. There is plenty of plant material out there
to choose from, you just have to look at your landscape in a
slightly different frame of mind. Anything is game, even the
leafless stems and twigs can become part of a beautiful
arrangement in the home.
Of course, some plants are more easily used than others. One
that is used a lot here in the South are southern magnolia
leaves. The glossy green look on one side contrasts well
with the fuzzy brown texture of the other side. Both the
leaves and seedpods make decorative accents. Another group
of evergreens to look for are cedars. Their small needles
decorating the branches make great arrangements. Another
coniferous plant that you usually find in abundance are
junipers, particularly eastern red cedar, which is a treeform
juniper. Their blue-green foliage, blue berries, and slight
fragrance work great in the home.
Another set of plants that are overlooked for cuttings are
boxwoods and small-leaved hollies. Using trimmings from
these plants for live wreaths will add a classical
uniqueness to your doorway. And of course, how can we talk
about holiday plant cuttings without mentioning holly? With
holly, there are so many different types that can be
utilized. The most well-known are the types with glossy,
dark green leaves surrounded by bright red berries that just
beg to be used for the holiday season. Though harder to
find, there are also variegated leaf versions that exist
There are also the smaller, thin-leaved varieties that
belong to some tree-form hollies. Some other plants that can
be used along with hollies are nandinas, beech leaves, wine
vines, pine cones, fruits, rosemary, and many forms of seed
Now that we know all the different plant material that is
available for cuttings, how do we remove the cuttings from
the plant properly? After all, we still want the outside of
our home to look good as well, and unless you have a very
formal home, the 'freshly sheared' look won't be the most
flattering. To get the best cuttings while still keeping
your plants looking natural, using a naturalistic pruning
technique will be the best mode of action. To do this, first
choose the branch of the plant that you would like for
cutting, and follow it back to it's parent stem. This is
the place that you need to cut the branch off. Don't worry
about making the cuttings the right size for your project
here; that's to be done later. By cutting in this fashion,
you keep the plant from producing leggy offshoots that
don't fit in with the rest of the plant's shape.
If you are removing a lot of cuttings from a plant, take
care to remove the cuttings evenly so your tree or shrub
looks even as well. Also be careful when removing cuttings
from a plant that blooms early in spring. You don't want to
remove all of the flower buds that are already existing on
the shrub, and thus depriving you of its spring bloom.
Taking cuttings in this fashion not only rewards you with
trimmings for the inside of the home, it keeps the shrubs on
the outside of your home looking handsome as well.
Once you have all the cuttings you need, you can set about
to decorating your home with nature's tinsel. If you need
some inspiration, look for some resources online or in some
magazines. The periodical literature are rife with
decorating tips this time of year. And as you are sitting
back making small talk with your guests and even observing a
hint of a smile creeping upon Aunt Ethel's face as she
admires the fruits of your labor, feel content with the
thought that after the holidays are over, you won't have to
strain your back and your nerves trying to pack all of these
decorations away for the winter -- they're disposable!
Carrie Paulk is a professional landscape designer with
Turf Tamer, Inc. She has written many informative
landscaping articles for Turf Tamer's Tip of the Week
program. Want to learn more landscaping tips and
tricks? Go to http://www.turftamerinc.com
to sign up for the 'Tip of the Week' and learn more tips!
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