Osmocote Advertisement

Beyond Red and Green


Sure, you love the holidays, but maybe you don’t 100 percent love red and green. Yes, they always make a dynamite pairing, but do they always have to be the go-to colors for decorating every year? You’d really like to broaden your horizons, see what else you might do to offer a festive face to the world.

Such was the challenge a customer presented to the design staff at The Growing Place, Naperville and Aurora. “The customer wanted to stay away from the traditional reds and greens that are everywhere during the holidays,” says co-owner Carol Massat. “But she loves mauve and burgundy, so we custom designed this container using a variety of evergreens and two types of eucalyptus that had been preserved and dyed – all natural materials. Then we added some lime green color to brighten it up a bit.

“The key to creating a standout wreath or container is combining different colors and textures in the greens,” continues Massat. “The base for this wreath was Fraser fir because it tends to hold onto its needles better than other types of evergreens.” The designers incorporated other greens as well.

Alluding to the thriller-spiller-filler formula often cited for composing a container, Massat explains, “Incense cedar with its tiny yellow cones at the tips made a fantastic spiller plant. White pine with its soft long needles was a great filler, and the mauve/burgundy eucalyptus branches were the thrillers.”

There were two types of eucalyptus in the design: the tall spikes with small leaves around the stem and also seeded eucalyptus. “The seeded eucalyptus looks like small clusters of berries, but those are the seeds, and it has larger flat leaves that have also been preserved and dyed.”

Joining the Fraser fir and white pine in the arrangements are sprigs of boxwood, variegated cedar, juniper, preserved lemon leaves and preserved yarrow. For textural contrast the designers added shiny rounded leaves of boxwood and the larger dark green lemon leaves that had also been preserved and dyed. More textural interest was provided by tiny pinecones on the variegated cedar and clusters of blue berries on the junipers. The plant in the container that looks like a sedum is actually preserved yarrow that has been dyed a lime green. The hints of yellow in the variegated cedar also lighten up the overall look of the greens and provide some important color contrast. Large pinecones and a mauve velvet ribbon were the final touch.

Designers at The Growing Place like to use natural materials in their container designs. “We sometimes harvest from our gardens, using plants such as dried hydrangea flowers or the seed heads of Northern sea oats,” notes Massat. “But for the holidays we never want to forget the sparkles.”

—————————————————————-

Editor Carolyn Ulrich has written for Chicagoland Gardening since its inception. She is a former weekly garden columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and has received several awards for magazine writing from the Garden Writers Association. culrich@sbsmags.com

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Blog
Butterflies in February?

On a sunny winter day a few years ago, I strolled into our Palos-area garden looking for signs of snowdrops


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Bringing in the Bees

I pay close attention to the plants in my garden that attract a lot of bees. I don’t know the names of all the bees in my yard,


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Attack of the Killer Asparagus

I had one of those horticultural dreams the other night. You know what I’m talking about. The ones where you’re being ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
A Blast from the Past

Back in January 1906, the Gardener’s Monthly Magazine featured these women perusing seed catalogs and magazines.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Go Pantless … er, Plantless!

If there’s absolutely one thing I’m sure of as I slog through this vale of tears, it’s that the MacArthur genius grant ...


questions

What are your three favorite “all-but-forgotten” perennials that every garden should include? Why do you like them?

What is the best time to plant a tree in northern Illinois?

I have lost four 12-15 foot tall white pine trees over the last year. All had the same symptoms, browning needles at the bottom that continued up to the top. Can you tell me what pest is killing the white pines? I am also losing an Austrian pine now. It is experiencing the same symptoms.

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement