Greenery, Flowers and Sparkle Can Enhance Indoor Holiday Decorating

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Gardening expert Melinda Myers shares ideas for improving indoor holiday decor this season. Through the use of holiday greenery taken right from the landscape, decorative LED lights, flowers and flowering plants Melinda shares strategies for adding color and interest to holiday decorating this season that will increase the enjoyment for both families and guests.

Decorative LED lights can brighten up holiday centerpieces and mantle displays. Photo courtesy of Gardener's Supply Company.

Use needled evergreens like pines and firs, broadleaf evergreens like boxwood, holly and evergreen magnolia as well as junipers and arborvitaes to create wreaths, swags, centerpieces and garland.

Liven up indoor holiday décor with some greenery, lights, a bit of glitz and some colorful blossoms this season.

Start by gathering greenery from the landscape. “Use needled evergreens like pines and firs, broadleaf evergreens like boxwood, holly and evergreen magnolia as well as junipers and arborvitaes to create wreaths, swags, centerpieces and garland,” says Melinda Myers, host of The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series. “And don’t forget to include cones, holly berries, crabapples and the bluish-colored fruit of junipers.”

Be selective when pruning trees and shrubs and collecting these materials. Use sharp bypass pruners that have two sharp blades and will make a clean cut that closes more quickly. Make the cuts above a healthy bud, where the branches join another branch, or back to the main trunk. Take only a few branches from each tree or shrub to maintain the plants’ beauty.

Place freshly cut greens in a cool location away from heaters, fireplaces and open flames. Set them on colorful fabric or paper to catch the sap and avoid damaging any woodwork or furnishings. Then take a moment to enjoy the fresh scent that fills the air, providing some much needed aromatherapy during the busy holiday season.

Check the greenery for freshness every few days. The needles, leaves and stems should bend, but not break. Replace any dried greens with fresh materials.

Then brighten up the display with some cool burning LED lights. Create a mantle display or centerpiece with the help of LED pillar lights. Or add a string of LEDs to garland. Look for something unusual like pinecone string lights ( to add sparkle and charm to the display.

If working with artificial greens that need a facelift, add fresh berries, cones and seedpods for a more natural look. Increase the glitz with the help of silver and gold metallic paint or glitter. Paint milkweed, lotus and other pods and then tuck them into the greens. Painting allium seedheads white will add the appearance of flowery snowflakes to indoor arrangements and outdoor container gardens.

And don’t forget the fresh flowers and flowering plants. Poinsettias are a long-time favorite, but Amaryllis, lily of the valley and other spring flowering bulbs are a great way to mix things up a bit. Look for unusual varieties or combinations to increase interest and enjoyment. Combine large flowered amaryllis with small flowering bulbs like star of Bethlehem. Or go for a unique size, shape or flower color like that of the Honeybee Amaryllis with its beautiful yellow flowers that are sure to brighten any indoor space.

Add a few cut flowers to greenery and houseplants for some instant color. Stick the greenery and flowers in dampened floral foam to create a long-lasting holiday centerpiece. Or place cut flowers in floral picks and set them in dish gardens and houseplants to quickly brighten things up. Then swap out the flowers as they fade.

And consider making a few extra planters or centerpieces to give as holiday and hostess gifts this year.

Now is the time to put on those gardening shoes, grab the pruners and get started decorating for the holiday season ahead.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has a master’s degree in horticulture and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her web site,, offers gardening videos, podcasts and monthly tips.

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Diana Paul
Melinda Myers LLC
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