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Natural Decorations Add Beauty To Holiday Season
By Jamie Vickers
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bring nature into the home to create a new look for both traditional and non-traditional decorations this holiday season.
"There are a lot of things that you can do with materials around your home to decorate for the holidays," said Jim DelPrince, assistant professor of floral design at Mississippi State University.
Poinsettias are traditional decorations for the Christmas holidays. Research at Ohio State University has proven that poinsettias are not poisonous. These plants are common decorations at Christmas time and they add beautiful color to any room.
Special care is necessary for poinsettias. Water is easily trapped in the wrapper around the pot which causes the over-watered plant to rot and die.
"Punch holes in the wrapper or remove it altogether. Keep the plants in well-lit areas and away from drafts to help them stay fresh and beautiful," said Norman Winter, a horticulturist with MSU's Extension Service.
"Alternative plants are becoming more popular," DelPrince said. "Amaryllis is a non-traditional, trumpet-shaped flower that blooms six to eight weeks after planting."
Another non-traditional decorative flower is the narcissus.
"The bulbs should be arranged in a bowl with gravel and water," DelPrince said. "They grow in the water, and the flowers are very fragrant."
Beaded garland becomes a more natural decoration after adding walnuts or pecans. Drill a hole in the nut, lengthwise, and string them with the beads. Berries also may be added.
"Garland accents Christmas trees, mantles and doorways," DelPrince said. "Foliage clippings from your yard, like holly and boxwood, can be bound with wire to rope to make your own garland."
After making garland, add pine cones and/or citrus fruit studded with cloves for fragrance.
"Adding berries, cones and holly to artificial garland and wreaths which are bought in stores works well," DelPrince said. "Twisting the fresh greenery into the artificial makes it look very real because of the heavy green basis."
Other greenery found in the landscape may be used for decoration. Use greenery as it looks in the landscape or it can be spray-painted gold or another festive color.
"Native hollies, with their waxy green leaves and bright berries are a natural holiday accent for homes," Winter said.
Magnolia leaves are also beautiful in Christmas arrangements or centerpieces. These leaves will last several weeks.
Pine and cedar greenery are both fragrant and add a special touch when draped across a mantle, but pine tends to last longer than cedar, Winter said.