It’s really fun to decorate your house with natural Christmas decor, clipping bits of cedar, evergreen, and juniper throughout your property and turning it into something crafty and creative. I love making this garland as either a decoration over an entryway, down the banister, or around the fireplace. You can even make a shorter version of it as a table centrepiece! So grab some fresh evergreens, any lights or decorations you might want to add, some clippers, and twine, and let’s get started!
What you should know before you cut foraged greenery
Unless you’re cutting from a tree that is slated to be cut down next year and you don’t care if it dies, remember to never take more than one-third of the greenery from a tree. If you’re foraging from an ornamental shrub in your yard, be aware of the shape you’re leaving behind as you cut it. Always try to cut in such a way that preserves the integrity of the shape and the health of the plant. And, finally, it goes without saying to make sure you’re cutting from someplace you have permission to do so if you’re not cutting from your own property!
Where can I find evergreens if I don’t have any?
Larger garden centres will usually have fresh greenery. In Saskatoon, you can buy bundles of evergreen from Wilson’s Lifestyle Centre and Dutch Growers. Your local florist will often have extra they can sell you, as well, and big box stores like grocery stores tend to have them (but the quality is often not great and they get picked over very fast!).
If you live near a Costco, they actually have lovely bundles you can purchase but they do tend to get picked over very quickly, as well. And, finally, if there are any Christmas tree farms near you (or locally owned Christmas tree shops where someone is manning a booth), ask them if they have any ugly trees that they plan to use as wreaths and, depending on the generosity of the owner, you might even get them for free or half price!
How to make beautiful fresh garland with real greenery
- twine or paddle wire–24 gauge wire is my favourite, but you can use whatever size works for you!
- fresh greenery
- decorations of choice
Tip: Wear garden gloves or latex gloves if you’re from the prairies and you’re foraging greenery from your own yard. I guarantee that at least 80% of it will be painfully sharp!
- Cut a length of twine or wire the length of the garland you want, leaving at least 6-8 inches on either end so you can make a loop from which to help hang the garland–If you end up not needing this loop, you can easily tuck it back into the arrangement (but you’ll be thankful you had it!)
- Start at one end and bundle together 1-3 branches of greenery. Depending on thickness and your personal preference, you can always bundle more. Wrap your paddle wire around at least three times, then put the next piece overtop. Wrap your paddle around at least three times again, and keep repeating–It’s better if you don’t cut the paddle wire and tie for every single bunch, as the tension will be greater if you just do it all continuously with the paddle wire.
- Notch your paddle wire or make some sort of winding end when you’re finished, hang your garland, and enjoy!
decorating natural garland
To decorate your garland you can now string lights around it or attach wire to different ornaments, pinecones, or any other teasures and tie them on. You can also hot glue these items on, although this makes your garland non-compostable at the end of the season.
Frequently asked questions
How long will my garland last?
Indoors, the fresh garland will last about three weeks if you mist it daily. Outdoors, your natural greenery should last until at least January, but it can last until March if you use local greens and mist when temperatures are above freezing.
How can I make my garland compost-friendly?
For a more sustainable, earth-friendly garland try oven-dried oranges, pinecones, or dried berris for decorations and tie with twine instead of wire (unless you’re willing to take all the wire apart). Using twine and natural decorations ensures a truly compostable garland, because you can easily throw the whole thing in the compost after you’re done with it for the season!
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