Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 21, 2012

THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Spruce up a front entrance for the holidays


THE GOSHEN NEWS

— I’m not referring to just the literary term, "Spruce up a front entrance for the holidays," of this old saying, but actually using spruce to lend a holiday tone to the front entrance of your home during the holiday season.

A swag of freshly cut frosty blue spruce, 2 to 3 feet in length, adorned with a ribbon of holiday colors and a few red berries wired into the bow will say “welcome” to all friends and neighbors and all those who pass by. Attach it to a door with a special-made S-hook.

If you desire, you can take it to another level by including several evergreen varieties. Each variety will lend a different color, shape, and texture to add even more interest to your swag.

While sometimes it may be difficult to locate some of the varieties, a trip to a tree farm selling Christmas trees of all species with remnants that are bundled and sold should solve the problem.



Examples of possibilities for your swag might include blue spruce, cedar, white pine, white spruce, Douglas fir, and Frazier fir.

Take it to yet another level and be real creative with a colorful bucket or basket, filled with sand or rocks for stability, and create a doorstep welcome, that includes the same materials, arranged “fan-shape” that might even include novelty angels or a Santa or candy canes or tiny wrapped gifts that may be wired into the creation.

My son and daughter-in-law gifted my wife and me with a pot such as this on Christmas Eve several years ago and with much delight it sat at our front entrance until spring — the cold temps kept it in pristine condition all winter.

The holiday season always seems to bring out the artis in everyone and creativity comes alive. There is an endless supply of nature’s natural ingredients that can be collected and, with some tweaking and manipulating with added color and the like, can turn into something quite beautiful.

I was always on the lookout for natural and unusual products of nature such as the grape vines I purchased at one of the many fruit farms I frequented in southern Michigan or the giant Pine cones (8 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter) found in South Carolina at a golf course I visited- there were thousands but I only brought back a few.

The grape vines made festive wreaths and the cones had many uses as in a table-top display or inclusions in a festive basket. The vines were also used to entwine shovels that were adorned at the top with a fancy decorated wren house that I made and sold at the garden center.



There are the many street festivals that have entrepreneurs with bundled natural products of nature- some with unusual shapes, some with a natural look like ripened wheat, miniature cattails, and on and on.

Imagination is the key to any creation and nature provides it if only we look. To create a different look one might even consider spray-varnishing certain “finds” to give them a glossy look — I’ve seen this done before giving them a finished look.

Break out your artistic talents and create something new — it’s good for the soul!