Bring Cheer to Your Home This Holiday Season: COD Floral Design Instructor Shares Wintery Greenery Decorating Tips

winter greenery

By Angela Mennecke

An exciting part of the holidays, especially if you love to entertain, is decorating your home inside and out. Using greenery is an easy way to add seasonal flavor to your home. Whether you’re hanging garland around your doorway, filling up window boxes or adding charm to your mailbox, make your home sparkle with these winter greenery tips from Denise Walden, College of DuPage floral design instructor and owner of Walden Floral Design Company.

1.) Ensure the winter greens are as fresh as possible. The needles should not shed easily when you run your finger along the branch and the branch should smell green and fresh, not dry.

2.) When decorating with winter greens and evergreens, try to use variations in texture and even color. Long needle white pine, juniper with dark blue juniper berries, blue spruce and Frasier fir look beautiful in window boxes, outdoor pots and wreaths. Textures will give your creation more depth and interest. The back side of the shiny magnolia leaf is a soft suede-like brown and magnolia leaves are beautiful in winter arrangements, even when they dry out, as they add another texture and color.

3.) Leaves such as lemon leaf, also known as Salal, which is available at your local florist, can be sprayed with gold or silver paint and added to the evergreen arrangement for a festive holiday look. Pine cones are always an appropriate addition! Gold or silver sprayed pine cones look great and stand out a little more than natural finish pine cones.

4.) Don't be afraid to add a few artificial accessories to the arrangements. We often think of only using red bows and ornaments, but consider using artificial berries, leaves and even a few interesting faux flowers to the arrangements. Let your imagination lead you!

5.) Use red twig dogwood in the outdoor containers to give your arrangements some height. Many other branches work well, too, such as curly willow and birch.

6.) After making your outdoor arrangements, water them well and check them occasionally throughout the winter to help keep them fresh. Add some flower food for fresh cut flowers or preservative for fresh cut Christmas trees to the water to help keep the evergreens last longer.

To see Walden’s tips come to life, sign up for COD’s Holiday Container Workshop, scheduled for 11 a.m or 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5 on the College’s Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd. Walden and COD Horticulture Lab Assistant Marty Bartz will walk participants through decorating their own festive evergreen container. The cost is $40 per person. For more information and to register, contact Bartz at or (630) 942-3807.

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