December Gardening 2016

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden


Many years ago I was taught at my garden club in Bedford, N.Y. how to make a small boxwood Christmas tree. Over this Thanksgiving weekend, I taught my granddaughter, Lucy, how to make one. We cut boxwood and holly from our wind blown bushes here on Fishers Island and started our project.

The supplies you need to make a boxwood tree are the following:

  • A shopping bag of cut boxwood (you can also add a bit of holly to make the tree a little more interesting)
  • One block of oasis – well soaked in water
  • A sturdy container to stand the oasis in – this can be a container made for this purpose which you can buy at a floral supply store or a small bucket or even a flower pot lined with a plastic container – anything that will hold the oasis upright and has a place at the bottom to add a bit of water.
  • As the days go by, a bit of water or a spritz from a small spray bottle will help to keep the tree fresh.

Place the wet oasis in the container and cut off the top four corners to make a slightly pointy shape at the top.

Start to build the tree by placing larger cuttings of boxwood at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. You want to create a triangular shape. Cover the entire block of oasis with boxwood; checking to make sure none of the oasis underneath is visible. I like to do projects like this on a small Rubbermaid turn table, which you can easily turn around to see that your tree or flower arrangement looks well on all sides. Lucy and I added small bits of cut holly in among the boxwood cuttings to make a more interesting looking tree.

Once the tree has been assembled, you can decorate it with a variety of natural objects like pinecones, rosehips or small cut flowers. I have found that small carnations last the best. Or one can make small bows and attach them to the tree with stiff flower wire. I have a collection of small wrapped presents that I bought in a floral supply store along with some small fake fruit. Each year I change the theme a bit depending on where I am putting the tree – carnations and presents for the dining room tree and vegetables and fruit for the kitchen table. Children might like to make miniature paper snowflakes to decorate the tree. My grandchildren thought of shells or sea glass, but were a bit stuck with how to attach the wire to the sea glass, since the store was closed and we couldn’t buy the proper glue, so they settled with the supplies I already had.

If you make the tree early in December, it is a good idea to keep it in a cool place until closer to Christmas so it doesn’t dry out in a warm house.

Have a wonderful healthy and safe Christmas season.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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