Natural birch branches form the backbone of this project (but you could use redtwig dogwood or other branches). For added drama, cut the branches longer so they're taller than your banister, or include more bunches. Use thin florist's wire to lash them to the banister posts along with evergreens (in this case, noble fir) and twigs of bright red winterberries. Matte and glossy chartreuse ornaments add another dimension. Tie it all back with a velvet chartreuse ribbon. Making a bow is optional.
Who says wreaths must be round? Cut floral foam to a size that will fit inside a window in a door or entryway. Completely cover the foam with preserved green hydrangea blooms. Decorate with sprigs of winterberries. A coordinating green ribbon helps hang it up.
These cute packages take time, but they're easy to make. Cut a block of floral foam into the size you wish. Cut the heads off chartreuse 'Kermit' button mums. Stick a pearl-headed pin through the center of each flower to secure it to the foam. Wrap red velvet ribbon around the finished package, or just add a bow on top. The flowers stay fresh for about three days.
Vases of Red: Carry a theme throughout your decor by using variations of similar materials. We filled clear glass vases of varying shapes and sizes with red flowers and berries, using only one type per vase: amaryllis, winterberry or tulips. The winterberry branches are strong enough to support a few small ornaments.
Fresh Garland: For an alternative to evergreens, make garlands from fresh bells of Ireland. Cut 1-inch sections of the stalks, which have green florets. The hollow stalks are the tubes through which you thread string or yarn. Fresh florets last about a day. When dry, push flowers together.
For the cool blue walls and white hutch, we used chartreuse and dropped traditional reds in favor of white, brown and soft purple. The tabletop holds a long hedge of hydrangeas, white amaryllis, purple statice, mixed evergreens, fresh pears and white-tipped pinecones, all tucked into moistened floral foam placed on a low tray. The hedge in the hutch uses statice with a line of hydrangeas and white-tipped pinecones at the base.
Wrap candles with fat velvet ribbon attached with pearl-headed pins; place them at each seat. See the previous slide for how this look fits into a nature-theme place setting, with white-tipped pinecones atop napkins and tiny crystal vases holding single sprigs of hydrangea.
Use a wooden box to serve as a centerpiece. Fill the base with dry floral foam, then tuck mixed evergreens throughout. Attach citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and limes, to floral picks, and tuck them into the greenery. For the clove patterns, use a pencil to draw spirals or other designs on an orange, then poke whole cloves into the skin at evenly spaced points.
Why let your garden urns sit vacant all winter? Cut or buy a floral foam cone to stack on top of the urn. Slice the point off the cone to make a flat base where you'll attach the pineapple later. Building from the bottom up, attach evergreens by tucking the twig ends into the foam. Near the base, use floral picks to attach a row of oranges decorated with cloves. Halfway up the cone, attach pomegranates using floral picks. A row of orange halves runs three-quarters of the way up, with pinecones forming a base for a whole pineapple attached with floral picks.
The first 10 creations in this slideshow, including this tower, were a collaboration between Midwest Living and Botanicals Inc. in Chicago.
Have a pair of winter boots you don't wear? Dress them up with twigs, greens and ribbon for a welcoming display.
To protect boots, line with plastic bags. Add rocks in the foot to keep the boots from tipping. Insert twigs and small evergreen branches. Tie ribbon around each boot, tucking a sprig of evergreen in the bow.
Green apples are the perfect hue for an easy Christmas display. Fill a glass jar with apples; mix in loose greens for a wintry feel. Place container on a beveled edge mirror (that serves as a table runner). Fill in with additional greens, ball ornaments and candles of different sizes.
A bundle of brown twigs makes a great hanging decoration to put on a door or above a mantel. To secure, wrap a wide rubber band around twig ends. Tuck one branch of greens, such as eucalyptus, inside the rubber band for color. Cover the rubber band with a ribbon.
Create your own customized flower composition by covering coffee cans with wrapping paper and embellishing them with ribbon. Fill with inexpensive white carnations and baby's breath, plus evergreens cut from your yard.
Place pillar candles, evergreen branches, pinecones and clementines on a beveled-edge mirror for a nature-inspired tabletop arrangement. Don't like orange? Bring in green pears or red apples for traditional holiday color.
Turn a shallow basket or tray into a fun arrangement for your dining or coffee table. We arranged rows of feathery moss, smooth stones, green apples and spiky pinecones, but use what's easily available to you: other fruits or vegetables, ornaments or bits of nature.