Homemade Christmas Wreath

5 HOLIDAY DESIGN PROJECTS THAT BRING THE OUTDOORS IN

Truly, one of my favorite December (and even January) activities is taking stock of my garden for my long list of holiday décor projects. As a gardener, I am naturally attracted to the seasonal offerings of my garden — and the winter holidays give us a perfect opportunity to create some botanical masterpieces that enchant the senses. So, get your clippers ready, and be on the lookout for wintery plants at your local garden centers and home improvement stores.

Garland on front porch
Making a wreath

5 HOLIDAY DESIGN PROJECTS THAT BRING THE OUTDOORS IN

Make your own wreaths and garland. Years ago, I lived in eastern Washington state and my neighbors hosted a wreath-making party. Everyone brought greens cut from their own gardens and we sat in the basement with hot drinks, fashioning fresh wreaths and garlands. Use pine branches and cuttings as well as rosemary clippings for smaller wreaths (adorable as tiny décor on holiday plates). Don’t have access to pine trees? Pop over to your local home improvement store and grab their throw-away limbs in the Christmas tree area — they’ll hand them over to you for free.

Create dramatic centerpieces. This is, quite literally, one of the easiest things you can do. Walk through your garden and gather cuttings of branches with berries, pine boughs, patches of moss, pinecones, interesting bark, and acorns. Smaller items like the pinecones and acorns can be grouped in rustic wooden bowls while larger branches can create a focal point on your dining room table. Place the branches in a large vase (just how you would arrange cut flowers), add some moss for texture, and you’ve made yourself a wintery centerpiece that will last for weeks.

Making a homemade ornament
Bloom of a Christmas Cactus

Dress up your Christmas cactus. If you don’t already have a Christmas cactus in bloom, the garden centers are full of them right now. You can get tiny ones to place in mossy terrariums, or larger specimens for the center of your table. Slip the Christmas cactus, in its garden center pot, into a slightly larger decorative container and add moss to the soil surface.

Make some botanical Christmas ornaments. You know those clear glass or plastic Christmas balls that you get at the craft store? Fill them with tiny botanical elements like acorns, moss, pine cuttings, and berries, then hang them on the Christmas tree with a festive ribbon. Or, group them in a large wooden bowl and set it on a side table for the month.

Force bulbs for a blast of color. If you haven’t started on forcing your own bulbs yet, no worries — they’re available at every garden center I’ve visited recently. From paperwhites to amaryllis, these bulbs add a touch of seasonal color to any indoor tabletop display. I particularly love the ones with the buds that haven’t opened yet — their form holds a gift that opens slowly on its own, providing an insane amount of expectation and happiness for any gardener.

Bonus Tip: Get acquainted with battery-operated strand lights. From regular white lights to twinkle lights, multicolored strands and fairy lights, these light sources don’t require an outlet, and they add instant warmth and drama to any botanical holiday project.

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