Pinecone garlands
Decorating with Greenery from Your Back Yard

In colonial times, houses were decorated with nature's bounty, from garlands made of pine boughs to hemlock cone, and the dark green glossy leaves and red berries of the holly tree, partridge berries, and cranberries to scented bayberry leaves and berries, pinecones, acorns and other nuts, and there's no reason why you can't continue this tradition today's modern world. Besides, it's fun, environmentally friendly, and saves you money.

Pinecones can be tied with ribbons and hung from the windows as shown in the picture above. Make your own garlands and swags with evergreen boughs. Use florist wire or tape to hold the boughs together. Bare twigs from birch trees or other trees with interesting or colored bark, red twigged dogwoods for instance, make a pretty display when grouped together. Grapevine or evergreen wreaths can be accented with rose hips, dried grass plumes and small cones.

Take a look at The Ultimate Wreath Book: Hundreds of Beautiful Wreaths to Make from Natural Materials for more ideas.

Even if you don't have these types of plants in your yard, you probably have ones that are similar and can be substituted. Rhododendrons, yew, spruce, arborvitae, and boxwoods are all excellent sources of greenery. Evergreen cones, seedpods from locust trees or eucalyptus, staghorn sumac and pyracantha berries can also be quite festive when tied up in bows or mixed with evergreens in a tall vase.

Berry napkin rings

Gather whatever suits your fancy and improvise when you get inside the house. Mix blue-green foliage with other green shades. The point is to have fun mixing and matching to create some unique decorations. So before you rush off to the garden or home center to buy greens to decorate the house with for the holiday season, stop and take a look in your own back yard. With a bit of creativity and ingenuity you might just find everything you need to make your own wonderful displays.

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