How to use fresh greenery?

party_music50November 14, 2010

Hi all --

I'm planning to try a couple new things this season and would like any helpful tips in handling fresh greenery!

I have a couple small pine trees that are growing where I don't want them. I think they're Colorado Spruce (short sharp needles!). I want to cut them and use them as a fresh indoor tree table arrangement. I've been weaving miniature baskets to use to decorate one, so hope that I can make this work. I'm in z5. When could such a tree be cut to last indoors through xmas? and how do I anchor it for display (stems are probably around 1" diameter).

I also have a rhododendron that's so huge it could use a trimming. I'd like to use fresh rhodo cuttings outdoors as swags. When could I cut those to maintain freshness through xmas, and how do I handle them? Should cut ends be wrapped/sealed somehow?

Any tips, ideas, experiences, and photos anyone could share would be most helpful!

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PM, here the trees seem to keep for 2 weeks. If you could keep them in a cooler place they should keep longer. I've always had mine in our home and it's to warm. I've also heard with Christmas trees if you soak them in water until they stop absorbing it they will keep longer. I use faux any more so haven had to deal with them in years.

As for the rhody, do you have any of the floral tips that hold water you could use? If not, I would try to put them and the spruce in the floral foam so you can water and place the pots or dish inside your baskets.

Hope others will have more ideas for you.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Thanks, Punk. I'll figure on just two weeks for the trees then. I was hoping for longer. I guess I could cut them one at a time to extend the season. :O) Any ideas on what would work to stand them upright and keep them watered at the same time? they're much too small for a normal tree stand.

For the rhodo cuttings, I actually did think of those tubes that roses sometimes come in. They would probably work perfectly for cuttings kept indoors, but I plan to hang the rhododendron cuttings outdoors where the tubes of water would definitely freeze. Is that good or bad?! lol!

Is anything special done to preserve fresh pine cuttings that are kept outdoors? how long do they last?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 6:13PM
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PM, I work in the pines that get shipped allover, and if you don't keep them in direct sun or a direct heat source they should be all right just in water with maybe a teaspoon of sugar added. I make Fraiser Fir Wreaths and we started making them last week(I saw trucks with pine cut for wreaths a week earlier) and they usurally stay good through the holidays. I have had them still be green and retain their needles when I took them down in January. If you keep them in the house you could put them in water or even mist them a few times during the day to raise the humidity around them to help with the drying. I really don't think the redos would dry out much if you keep them outside. esp if the temps turn cold. You should be able to get at least 2 weeks out of them and I really would expect more if the day time temps don't get really hot. Could you anchor the little trees in some kind of container by putting some of the river rocks that you can find at DT in some kind of container that would also hold water? That would be what I would try. Hope this helps , Janet

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 8:39PM
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party ... inside info I don't know cause I don't use cut pine boughs inside ...but if you do, be careful of your baskets...line them with something...cause when I get to cutting pine branches I ALWAYS end up with "sap" on me somewhere!

Now for outside, my pines seem to last for months in our cold winter weather. My bakers rack decor stays green at least thru March ...& last yr I did an old wash tub with greenery & branches & the bird waterer, too...they stayed til I threw them away in the Spring:

So, good luck...nothing smells as good as fresh pines...we usually cut a tree & have it in the house 3 wks or so & keep it plenty watered. Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 11:00PM
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Thanks for the info and tips Janet and Jeanne!

Janet, I'm assuming the wreathes you make don't include any component to keep them moist (like florist foam). I have lots of river rocks, so I'll see if I can anchor the small trees with those when I cut them...

Jeanne, do you have water in the tubs to keep your greens fresh through the winter??? They look great! I LOVE your red twig dogwood!!! I planted one for myself this past spring, and it's just turning red now. I'm hoping when it's larger that I can use trimmings from it to weave into my baskets. :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 8:27AM
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party..I see I misread your posting...the baskets are going to be ornies on the tree...LOL! That will be beautiful! Great idea & I bet the river rock will work to stabalize the small could add some sand, too, if needed...maybe use a small crock or bowl or something for the stand.

And no, I don't keep water in the tubs...actually I have the drain open so water (or snow/ice) won't freeze in it. You will LOVE your dogwoods! (they don't mind being trimmed frequently either!) That's what I used inside with the grasses & branch twig lights just recently (I'll add pic).

The branches in the washtub are Cork Screw Willow which I spray-painted red. In the spring I sit them in a bucket of water & they sprouted! Did get this wash tub in place again but not decorated w/pines yet.
Looking forward to seeing your "basket" spruce tree! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Party sorry that I was not more explicit. You are right. We cut boughs of Fraiser Fur to the length that we want for the specific size wreath and just clamp them to a wreath wire, nothing but the pine and the wire. They stay green right through the holidays ==unless they aree put somewhere where the sun or heat is directly on them. I have had mine that I use at home still be green in the spring when I start yard work. In the house, though with heat , they start to shed their nedles after about three or four weeks. We heat with wood and I still have never had a major problem keeping them through the holidays. Janet

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 7:54PM
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Thought I'd show you my little mini-basket xmas tree -- I ended up anchoring it with river rocks in an "ivy jar" (?). Nothing fancy, but everyone really liked it. :)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 10:26PM
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party...your mini-basket tree is GORGEOUS! It is very "fancy" by it's own simplicity & naturalness of the basket reeds (correct term?) ...& the tree you choose...the green vase is perfect & so are the white snowflakes...what are they made of? They remind me of "Queen Anne's Lace." Love your tree! TFS! Jeanne S.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 12:17AM
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PM..I agree with Jeanne..Gorgeous Tree!
I too love it's simple yet elegant look.
The Baskets and the delicate Snowflakes are a lovely touch too. It reminds me of an Old Fashioned tree that you'd see on a Christmas Card. Just lovely.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 12:55AM
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PM, I love your darling little mini-basket xmas tree. So glad you shared this. Your African Violets blooming beside the tree are beautiful.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 8:13AM
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Jeanne, thank you! Yes, basket reed is the correct term. And you have a great eye!!! the snowflakes are "Queen Anne's Lace". lol!

Jane, thank you! It's the look I was going for.

Punk, thank you! That's a north-facing window where I usually keep some AVs and a few other plants, but I don't have many blooming now with the winter darkness... it's just what happened to be there. I meant to clear them away and finish decorating the table, but never got around to it. I just don't have the time or will to stage a photo properly. lol!

Sorry I haven't been on much for a long time. I've had to severely limit my time on the computer -- time on everything, really. It will be awhile before I can stay on and catch up here again -- you are all far too busy and the forum is moving fast!!!

Wishing you all a great new year. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 11:57PM
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BTW: The little 'Blackberry Basket' that's hanging at 3 o'clock in the photo won 1st place in the Arts & Crafts Miniature Accessories competition at the NYS Fair this year. :O)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 12:07AM
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Party, love your little tree, It isn't Christmasy so it can stay up well into the new year.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 3:07PM
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