I've been out shopping in the wide, wide world of big box stores. Let me tell you, it is a soul-damaging endeavor for a woman who has owned a small business for almost thirty years. I was on a quest for a particular purple ribbon for a decorating project I am working on. My husband was looking for some kind of DVD's for his son. We braved the crowds and the traffic on a Monday in November and made it home in one piece, still speaking to each other. But MAN did I see a lot of "plastic fantastic" Christmas decor in my travels. It was enough to make me shake my head in wonder at how we have evolved as a society in terms of hall-decking behavior.
I am surely convinced that gardeners NEED fresh, live, beautiful greenery around them at this time of year. We MISS the live plants. Have you noticed, when driving around, how your eyes are drawn to all things evergreen right now? That's because you miss the lushness of your garden. Decorating with live evergreens dates back to centuries ago and is intertwined with the celebration of the winter solstice, the darkest and shortest day of the year. In 2012 it falls on Friday, December 21st. Evergreens have always been the symbol of the life force that remains in the dead of winter. They were used to celebrate the return of the light, the lengthening of the days, and the onward march to spring.
As soon as I got home and unpacked my purchases, I headed outside to deck my deck. I dragged a giant clay-like pot filled with soil to the prime spot outside my office door. I took a wheelbarrow and picked the following:
- Red 'Sparkleberry' winterberry branches
- Variegated holly
- American holly with a few berries
- Tall stems of upright juniper
- Drooping branches of Norway spruce
- White pine limbs, cut down with a pole pruner (risky but exciting to do!)
- Limber pine (Pinus flexilis 'Vanderwolf's Pyramid). I continue to cut back this plant to assure it grows fat and full for screening
- Lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) Ditto on the cutting back for fullness routine, it's growing FAST!