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Foliage of the Season

The season is upon us. The weather has changed dramatically from the weeks before to the cold, white wonderland that is so reminiscent of our childhoods. It is this white dressing of snow clumping onto our evergreens and spruce trees that make the landscape serene. Even snow drifts formed from the winter winds become artistry in which their shape takes place. Ahhhh! Winter in Winnipeg.

It is the snow which drives us to continue enhancing this element by adorning the exterior; as well as the interiors of the home. Holiday decorating is a tradition from the past which continues today.

We dress our homes with trees; artificial or real ones which have been freshly cut. The choice is a personal one as to which we choose. Many family adventures occur yearly seeking out just the perfect tree. For a fresh cut tree, nothing beats the beauty of its scent when placed in the home. Balsam and Frasier fir varieties release the most fragrance from their short-needled branches. Preferences may be for the softer look of the long needled white pine or Scotch pine varieties. Each of these types allow for different decorating styles due to the branching habits and strengths. Care of the fresh cut tree is important to maintain its freshness. Assuring a fresh cut (re-cutting the trunk) allows the sealed wound of the tree to open and begin the process of wicking up moisture into the tree. Generally, removing 2-3" will allow the tree to absorb water. Regular filling of the tree's water reservoir or stand must be done. It is the first few days that you witness the power of a tree's ability to begin absorbing water. Do not let it dry as the tree will reseal itself.

The tree may not be the only adornment in residence. The trend to dress the exterior of the home has been evident by the beautifully dressed containers folks display by their home's entrance. Boughs, branching and berries nestled in planters become winter arrangements. Dominant structures of bold dramatic accents such a birch poles, and magnolia leaves add texture to these creations. The added touch is to nestle lights onto the layers of boughs rich with cedar, silver fir and pine. Lit nightly, the arrangement emits a beautiful glow, intensified by the light dusting of snow frosted over it. For an added touch, attach bright red stars with red dogwood branching along with oversized sugar pinecones for daytime viewing. You can be as creative as you want, sometimes creating outdoor containers with whimsy or a theme.

A toss up favorite for decorating is both the mantelpiece and stair railing. Each emits a designer feel when accomplished. Simple elegant to classically dressed, these areas can take center stage to your holiday decorating. Artificial and fresh made garlands are choices at hand. Of course, the artificial garlands can be assembled much earlier in the season than when using fresh. A hint though: fresh cut boughs may be added to your artificial design just prior to your events and holiday entertaining. Adding sprigs of fresh cedar enhances the fullness to the garland; as well as added scent. Sprigs are easy to weave into the artificial branching; and just as easy to remove.

These garlands when decorated can adorn the mantelpiece when gently laid on the hearth (Note: caution must be taken when placing any material close to operating fireplaces or lit materials such as candles). The garlands too, when either casually coiled, or positioned with a graceful swag along a stair rail, may be accessorized with a home's colour theme. Adorning the garlands with artificial poinsettias, berries, floral silks, and ribbons makes it festive. Note: when working with the garland on a stair rail, leave spaces of the rail free of material to allow function of the rail for persons who require its assistance.

A personal favorite is using clear icicles or snowflake ornaments to dangle from the greenery in both applications. Not only do the icicles emit a sparkle from the daytime light but at night they intensify with lights bouncing off their prisms. Collections of holiday ornaments can be added to help create a personal theme to the décor. So many possibilities!

Other simpler accents can be achieved. Create centerpieces for a table; use boughs draped into a swag form simply tied with a bright red ribbon to dress up a welcoming gate or mailbox; or use small pieces of cedar sprigs tied with a narrow holiday plaid ribbon which you have attached a name tag. What a beautiful touch for announcing a guest's seating at your welcoming dinner!

There are a vast number of ideas that can be achieved or revealed for those seeking to create a decorative touch to their holiday decorating.

St. Mary's Nursery & Garden Centre is fast becoming known for its creative Christmas. Seasonally, St. Mary's Nursery transforms its once garden atmosphere to a wondrous display of holiday décor. Open daily, they demonstrate how to accessorize and enhance your holiday themes through the decorating styles of over 35 theme trees for your viewing.

www.stmarysnurseryandgardencentre.ca

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