3 Ways with Christmas Greenery
Birmingham event and floral designer Sybil Sylvester combs the winter garden and shares three enchanting ways to use fresh evergreens indoors.
Create a Centerpiece
Use a footed silver serving tray to display a sumptuous centerpiece with vintage ornaments and clippings from the garden. This will last a full three weeks!
How To: Start with Southern classics: boxwood, pine, and magnolia. Next add large ball ornaments, followed by crocosmia pods, pinecones, and abelia whose flowers have dropped, leaving a showy flourish of pink sepals on the tips of branches. Finish with delicate sprigs of evergreens, dried shelf mushrooms attached to florist picks, and smaller ornaments.
Accent a Collection
Look for out-of-the-way display areas, such as the top of a chest, to add sparkle and shine. Whether your vignette stays up year-round—like this collection of mercury glass—or is seasonal, keep the fluffing simple so it doesn't compete.
How To: Cut appropriate lengths of fresh magnolia, boxwood, pine, fir, winterberry, and American cranberry bush berries to fit vessels. Right before a party, add ranunculus. Drape Carolina moonseed vine across the bottom; its berries last for weeks. You can hang a store-bought wreath or make your own like Sybil did. Just wire together 4-inch-long bunches of boxwood, cedar, or fir, and then secure to a 10-inch wire wreath frame with florist wire. Place bunches so they overlap. Hang by looping wide satin ribbon through the wreath and tying in a knot. Cut the ends of the ribbon at a diagonal.
Swag the Mantel
The antiqued convex mirror hung on chalky walls influenced Sybil's frosty palette. A collection of fluted vases, julep cups, and chalices makes it easy to display (and replace) choice blooms throughout the season. The foliage base will take you well past New Year's; the flowers will last five days.
How To: Begin with a base of silver artificial garland. Then tuck in layers of two kinds of fresh eucalyptus (silver dollar and seeded), as well as dusty miller placed in water tubes. Add silver brunia, white ranunculus, star of Bethlehem, 'Sahara' roses, eucalyptus pods, succulents, and snowberries to vases and along the mantel.
Sybil's festive holiday arrangements start with fresh cuts from your—or maybe a generous neighbor's—garden.
Fine-textured, dark green foliage is ideal as a filler or for garlands and wreaths.
Medium-textured, fernlike leaves add red, burgundy, or bronze color.
Fine-textured, yellow-green foliage can be tucked into arrangements for an airy look.
Medium- to coarse-textured needles are graceful in garlands and for use as a filler.
Coarse-textured leaves can stand alone or work as a base in wreaths and garlands.
Medium-textured leaves and rose-colored sepals provide an unexpected element.