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There's nothing quite like the pungent fragrance of fresh evergreen boughs to brighten and freshen up your hearth and home -- especially during the beautiful Holiday Season and the drab winter days ahead. Evergreen boughs and foliage have been used in many different ways for seasonal decoration--both indoors and out--for countless years.
Have you decorated with evergreen boughs in every conceivable way you can think of in years gone by? Could you perhaps embrace a slightly different approach this year? Or, maybe you're just looking for a fast, easy, and SIMPLE way to do a bit of wintertime decorating without a lot of fuss and muss.
Why not plant a cheerful and fragrant wicker basket lined with evergreen foliage instead of the usual sphagnum moss? It's fast, it's easy, it's simple -- and it will be delightful!
Are you ready? Then let's get started!
Assemble Your Basic Ingredients
- One wicker basket -- your choice of size and shape
- One plastic drip tray OR a durable piece of plastic
- Florist wires -- about one dozen 8-inch wires
- Peat-moss-based potting mix -- amount depends on size of basket
- Evergreen foliage clippings -- great substitute for sphagnum moss
- Gloxinia (Sinningia Speciosa) -- 1 plant in 4-inch pot
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x Buckleyi) -- 1 plant in 4-inch pot
- Cyclamen (Persicum primulaceae) -- 1 plant in 4-inch pot
Prepare Your Wicker Basket
As when planting in any container, your first step is to properly prepare the wicker basket that will hold your selected plants. Before arranging the evergreen foliage in the basket, place a sturdy plastic drip tray in the bottom of the basket so that it fits snugly.
If you prefer to use a plastic liner (such as a sturdy trash bag), first set your wicker basket on the piece of plastic to measure where to cut it. The plastic should cover the entire bottom and partially up the sides of the basket. After measuring, cut the plastic to size, then place it in the basket so it fits smoothly on the bottom and sides.
Using floral wire strips, bend each wire in half and insert both ends through small spaces in the wicker from the OUTSIDE to the INSIDE, and completely through the plastic. Twist each of the wire ends together several times close to the inner sides of the basket, smoothing the ends against the plastic. Do this in as many places around the basket as needed to hold the plastic in place before placing foliage and potting soil in your basket.
Choose Your Evergreen Foliage
Select only very fresh-cut evergreen clippings for the "foliage liner" you will create inside your basket. Many gardeners have evergreen trees growing in their yards from which to cut clippings. If you plan to cut foliage from any of your evergreens, be sure to choose clippings from inconspicuous areas so you won't spoil the appearance of your tree or shrub. Since most evergreen trees or shrubs are quite dense, this shouldn't pose a problem.
If you have more than one tree or shrub, this will allow you to cut a few clippings from each without doing any harm. Choosing healthy dark green foliage will truly enhance your evergreen liner with its fresh color and fragrance. Fresh evergreen foliage should last for at least a month or longer in your wicker basket before it begins to turn brown.
Another option for obtaining evergreen clippings is to visit to your local nursery, especially following the Holiday Season. They may offer you several varieties of evergreen boughs from leftover Christmas trees -- quite possibly for free!
Arrange Your Evergreen Foliage and Potting Soil
With your basket properly lined and your evergreen foliage at hand, you are ready to arrange your evergreen lining. First, place a two or three inch layer of potting soil on the entire bottom of your basket. Next, cut all of your foliage boughs (or clippings) to a uniform length of about six to eight inches.
Choose a starting point, then place a row of evergreen foliage around the entire inside edge of your basket, letting each piece touch the first layer of soil. Overlap each piece at least three to four inches, with the uncut tips all facing the same direction. You can also weave each clipping gently as needed to hold them together.
Repeat this process with a second row of foliage placed just above the first. Don't be afraid to overlap the clippings, as this will make a thicker liner that will last longer. At this point you may want to make use additional florist wires, twisting them carefully around the stems of the foliage in several areas. This is an easy way to hold your foliage in place until your soil and plants are added.
After your second row of evergreen clippings is in place, add another inch or two of potting soil. Continue to build additional rows of foliage, adding potting soil as you build, until you reach about four inches from the top of your basket.
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