Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas came - ready or not

Cedar (some with loose foliage and light blue berries; some with orange tips, but a compact habit);  limbs of the perfect magnolia with the small, glossy green leaf and velvety tan back; a thick branch of variegated osmanthus that looks like holly; a big sack of dark boxwood clippings from my mother's 50 year old bush;  clusters of navy blue privet berries (yes, they are decorative, and much better off where I can dispose of them so they won't make a new plant);  evergreen holly branches loaded with red berries;  pine branches I made sure when I lopped them off were dark green rather than yellowish; old growth ivy from a fallen tree, with huge, heart-shaped leaves;  winged sweet gum branches and one 12-inch piece of mistletoe;  enough Fraser fir clippings to construct a good size Christmas tree.

All this greenery sits on my back terrace.  Inside, on a table, is a stack of wreath forms of all kinds - wire, foam, straw wrapped with plastic, grape vine - in all sizes, from 10 inch to 28 inch - sitting unadorned next to reels of unopened ribbon.  A large cone that was covered in Fraser fir last Christmas rests on the floor, its foam riddled with pin marks.

So, despite the fact that my house looks like an evergreen forest exploded, I didn't finish everything I wanted to.  It's a bad habit I have.  I look at what I didn't get done, instead of what I did.  I am happy to say that the mistletoe (with berries - I know they're poisonous) looks good mixed with boxwood and holly, hanging from three lanterns in the house.  I was determined to use this sizable clump because I was able to pick it without even reaching up - how often do you get to do that?

Contrary to my best intentions, there's no cedar wreath hanging in the kitchen, or any small boxwood wreathes suspended from the dining room windows above the white slip-covered chairs.   I've got to let it go.  I was way too ambitious.  But I did have fun tromping through the fields at the farm and slipping and sliding on the hills around here.

At least the living room mirror pictured above (I bought it from Sam's Club years ago!) got some pine from the farm, and the Christmas tree looks magical.  I had a great time decking the halls, and this morning we built a fire and kept it going all day, lazing around with dogs and reading books we got for Christmas.

This week, I'll take stock of my cache of clippings.  We have to do another big arrangement for New Year's Day at church.  I think I can get some more variegated foliage (I called a woman at our church, and she invited me to come get some variegated holly;  it may actually be osmanthus, but that's okay).  An all green and white winter foliage arrangement could be stunning and will save money on flowers.  If it's successful, I'll let you know.  I can't bear to waste even a twig of all I've gathered.

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