Enjoy evergreens safely, indoors and out

Clippings

Use clippings of evergreens to make miniature arrangements to keep or share, such as these made by Pender Extension master gardeners to adorn the lunch trays of Meals on Wheels recipients.

Submitted photo
Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 02:06 PM.

Christmas is a traditional time to bring fresh cut evergreens indoors for natural decorations. There are many landscape plants that make great cut greenery for arrangements and decorations, though a few should be approached with caution. Continue reading to find out which plants you can enjoy and which you should avoid as you deck the halls this holiday season.

Beautiful hreenery

Common evergreens that have attractive foliage useful for natural arrangements include southern magnolia, with its beautiful large dark green leaves backed in brown velvet; boxwood, whose small, neatly ordered dark green leaves make a nice contrast to larger foliage; and cleyera whose dark green, shiny leaves often take on burgundy or purplish hues in winter. If you’re seeking to add more color to your greens, try the boldly gold splashed foliage of Japanese aucuba, a shade loving shrub that can lighten a dark spot indoors and out; variegated pittosporum, with frosted green leaves generously edged in creamy white; or the dark purple leaves of loropetalum.

Liven up greenery arrangements with fragrance by adding springs of rosemary, a tough drought tolerant and deer resistant shrub that is both ornamental and edible. When trimming shrubs to collect greenery keep in mind new growth will not occur until spring. To avoid leaving plants looking bare all winter, cut shorter pieces evenly all over the shrub. If you need to cut a large amount of greenery, consider thinning out branches of overgrown shrubs or removing lower branches of trees.

One way to make the most of shorter clippings is to use them for miniature arrangements. Foil covered plastic yogurt cups serve as great vase for such mini arrangements, which make lovely yet unobtrusive table decorations. Each year Pender County Extension Master Gardeners make around 300 of these arrangements, which are added to the trays of ‘Meals on Wheels’ lunches that are delivered throughout the county. 

Dangerous vegetation



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