My little sister rocks! Every December she cuts great bunches of foliage from her 3 acre yard in Ashland, Va and drives it all down to me.  

I think it is my favorite gift.  The big boxes of holly, cedar, magnolia, Nandina and English boxwood sit in my yard until I finally get around to it…Then I arrange them in containers for the porches, garden and house. 

Easy and FREE holiday decorating thanks to garden cut greeenery

This is effortless decorating–

  • Put water in a large metal or plastic container (bucket)
  • Add largest branches first, trimming stems when necessary
  • Hide the container in an out-of-service flower pot

The water will freeze in the outdoor buckets.  But it will thaw.  The greenery will last for weeks and weeks. 

I also like this kind of decorating because it connects me with my past.  When I was growing up, many of the ladies used to “borrow” magnolia from the campus that was the center of our town.  Years later my husband and I hunted cedar and mistletoe on his family farm. 

We don’t have so much space these days, but even if your  yard is tiny, you can grow great plants for the holidays–

Here’s a list of my favorites

Nandina.  Splendid red berries! Yes, they fall off, roll around and make new Nandina every where.  Dig these baby plants up and give to newbie gardeners.  They’ll always remember you at holiday time.

Birdbath dressed for winter. My sister grew with stunning Nandina. The foliage is red because it was grown in full sun.

Acuba. Large green and yellow leaves which look great with red berries.  Cut branches will often root over winter in pot of water.  Plant these and give them away as gifts.

English Boxwood.  Another evergreen that’s easy to root, these plants are slow-growing and have a nice clean fragrance that reminds me of childhood.  My sister cuts branches and sticks them into straw wreath forms.  The results are lovely.

Home-grown boxwood wreath on my sister's door

Pine.  Easy to find and grow in NC–another evergreen with a nice fragrance to bring inside–which is something I always love to do…bring the garden inside, especially on cold winter days. 

Pine and Nandina berries (with Angels) on little sister's mantle

What about you?  Please add to list.  And have a wonderful holiday season.