Originally created 12/08/00

The Christmas tree boughs to simplicity



There's nothing like the piney scent of a fresh Christmas tree in your home to put you in the holiday mood. So what do you do when you can't have a real Christmas tree?

Lots of people opt each year for an artificial tree, a tiny tree or no tree at all because they are busy, will be out of town for Christmas or have a small space to decorate.

The solution is fresh Christmas greenery that can provide the comforting scent of the holidays without the space requirements and upkeep of a live tree. Wreaths can be hung over a fireplace, on a wall or the inside or outside of a door.

"You can have the smell of Christmas as you come in and out of the door," said Jerry Reynolds, owner of Greenbrier Nurseries and Gifts on Washington Road in Evans.

Wreaths can be made from Fraser fir, Leyland cypress, eucalyptus, holly and magnolia branches. They can be custom made from any other live plant material. "If there's something else that somebody would want to make a wreath out of, we can pretty much put just about anything together," said Chris Hartchick, Greenbrier's manager.

Most fresh-cut Christmas greens will be fragrant. Green Thumb West on Davis Road in Martinez also carries fresh-made wreaths. Jennie Addie, sales consultant, arranges branches in flower-type arrangements to take to hospitals and nursing homes. The can easily be accented with holly berries and pine cones.

"The little arrangements turn out beautiful," said Ms. Addie. "All you need is a waterproof container and some floral foam to make the arrangement. You can accent it with a bow."

Garland, swags and even candy-cane-shaped wreaths can be easily made to accent your home. Ms. Addie recommends wiring cones, berries or white lights into the garland.

"The garland makes a huge difference," said Carolyn Mutimer, designer at Greenbrier Nurseries & Gifts. "You can white-light that garland and hang it up around the house, door or entry."

Eucalyptus accents, which have a unique fragrance, can stay in your home all year.

"It gives you a Christmas feel with the red velvet, and after Christmas you can change out the ribbon and actually match it to your decor," Mrs. Mutimer said.

If you don't want to purchase a ready-made wreath, making these scented decorations is not difficult. Most wreaths and basic shapes are made with a metal frame that can be bought at most craft stores.

Most of the decorations at Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site at Beech Island were made from plant material on the property. Because no nails can be used there, many are made and hung with fishing line and floral gauge wire, said Casey Connell, park interpreter.

If you have no greenery or garden of your own, ask a neighbor or friend with a live tree to save some trimmings, said Sid Mullis, director of the University of Georgia Extension Service for Richmond County. "Or go out in the woods and cut some pine limbs."

You could even go to a Christmas-tree retailer and ask for a branch donation to your decorating cause.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 823-3351.