Winter Greens: Creating Herbal Holiday Adornments
As we prepare to welcome Winter during this Solstice season, there is no better time to create gorgeous holiday adornments for your home using foraged greenery widely available in temperate climates. From lush green wreathes to festive table center pieces, garland along your fence, on the mantle above your hearth, or along your staircase, creating custom decorations can add life, rich fragrance, and bring the healing presence of our evergreen allies into our lives when most else in the garden has gone to bed. It's a great opportunity to get outside in the crisp winters air and create the perfect holiday decoration or even gift for those you love!
Depending on where you live there are a variety of greens you may have access to in order to create your preparation. Take a stroll in your neighborhood, local park, friends or families yards or your favorite foraging place and keep an eye out for some of the evergreen classics like cedar, juniper, spruce, holly, yew. Additionally visit the garden and see if there is any sage, rosemary, thyme, horehound, rue and lavender or other herbs that may be hanging on during this cold. Be creative and try out different plants, you never know the beauty you can create until you try!
Different greens will last for different lengths of time and some are more heat resistant than others, so be sure to consider this as your create. For example yew will keep its gorgeous deep green the longest and can also withstand a decent amount of heat so could be good for a mantle. Remember that yew greens are however unsafe to ingest so keep away from curious hands. Be sure of course never to expose your evergreens to open flames or high heat as they are extremely flamable once dry, surely why the tradition of using actual candles in Christmas trees is thankfully a tradition of the past.
With the varying species come gorgeous variations of greens from the silvery light color of rue, artemesias, sages and lavender to the deeper green hues in juniper, cedar and the darkest, yew and holly. The vibrant red berries of the holly, the frosty juniper berries, and the earthy richness of pine cones add beauty and visual interest. Cedars, pine and juniper add the familiar aromatics of wintertime. Creating these decorations can be totally free, or one can purchase a few affordable items that can help the process along. One can cut and use old grape vine or spineless varieties of berries that need to be pruned during the cold season to create a circular frame for a wreathe. Alternatively purchasing a few metal frames that can be used year after year is another option. Using a metal floral wire can help tie together ropes of pine or cedar to create garland for the fence, mantle, staircase, windows or front door, or it can help fasten greenery for your wreathe.
The lore and tradition of each of these plants is a favorite way to help bring in the type of healing you and your loved ones need during this winter dream time. Evergreens are generally known as symbols of immortality, as they stay green when most other plants have lost their leaves and gone dormant during the harshest of winter weather. The pleasant aromatics we associate with many of the evergreens such as pine, juniper, and cedar also have many antimicrobial and antiviral properties, perfect during the cold season! Juniper is known as a plant of sanctuary and helps keep from harm all who need help. Sage too is known as an herb for immortality, also to bring happiness to the home, as well as to clear a way forward bringing a sense of peace. Rosemary, is for remembrance, but also a great protector! Thyme is known to help bring bravery as well as to bring clarity to ones thoughts helping one make decisions based in truth. Lavender helps to create a space of gentility and peace.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to the fun and intention you can bring into creating holiday decorations, as always ask the plants for their guidance and permission before harvesting, never utilize plants that are at risk of being over harvested, and enjoy!