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Gone Gardenin' - Incorporate indoor garden into festive decor

A Cuban oregano is decorated with bits of yarn and narrow tinsel rope.

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A Cuban oregano is decorated with bits of yarn and narrow tinsel rope. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)

A trailing plectranthus sits on a tray amid some cones and Christmas balls.

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A trailing plectranthus sits on a tray amid some cones and Christmas balls. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)

This succulent has been slipped into a Christmas jardinière for the holidays.

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This succulent has been slipped into a Christmas jardinière for the holidays. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)

Three succulents in identical green pots sit on a bed of real spruce boughs on a tray; cones and a few holiday accents have been added.

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Three succulents in identical green pots sit on a bed of real spruce boughs on a tray; cones and a few holiday accents have been added. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)

A large scented geranium has donned some Christmas ting, a bow and cones for Christmas.

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A large scented geranium has donned some Christmas ting, a bow and cones for Christmas. (ALBERT PARSONS/FOR THE SUN)

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(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)

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(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)

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(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)

Decorating for the holidays can be fun.

When performing this pleasurable task, many people remove objects that are normally on display on tables, mantels and shelves in the home and replace them with Christmas items. Vases, bowls, picture frames and ornaments are packed into boxes and banished to some dark closet until after the holiday season.

During the year, however, avid indoor gardeners often use such surfaces to display houseplants and they cannot simply be thrown into some dark storage area for three weeks until the holidays are over.

Instead of removing the plants from view, the innovative gardener must try to incorporate houseplants into the holiday décor and dress them up for Christmas if there is no other spot for them to spend the festive season.

Actually this brings with it a couple of advantages: fewer Christmas decorations will be required as the plants themselves become part of the décor; and it might be a lot less work. Also, much of the decorative material added to the plant displays will be rather simple and often include things that the gardener already has on hand.

How does one incorporate houseplants into the holiday décor? Let’s consider some possibilities.

One technique is to use short lengths of red yarn or red ribbon — the narrow kind — to decorate a couple of foliage plants; simply scatter the pieces on the foliage, entwining them enough so that they will stay in place. You might curl the pieces of ribbon with the scissors to make them more decorative.

Fasten a festive bow, some cones and perhaps a Christmas ball or two to a stick and insert it into the soil at the base of a large floor plant to create a festive focal point. Use smaller decorations for smaller table plants; in all cases, the focal point must be in scale with the size of the plant.

The design would be even more effective if you display the plant in a jardinière that has a holiday motif. Lovely Christmas jardinières abound in stores so treat yourself to a new one every year or put them on your "wish list".

In a few years you will have a collection of lovely festive jardinières that you can use, instead of the conventional ones you use the rest of the year.

Another possibility is to use large baskets as jardinières — of course, use a saucer inside the basket to prevent water from staining the basket or coming through the basket and damaging the floor.

Use an attractive tray, perhaps one with a Christmas motif, to create a display using a trailing plant and some seasonal items. For example, a heart-leafed philodendron or an English ivy could be placed on the tray and be allowed to ramble between some Old Man Christmas figures, a few heirloom Christmas balls, a grouping of pillar candles, or even some unusually large and unique cones.

Another option for such a tray display would be to use three smaller plants, all in identical jardinières — preferably in a Christmas colour — and surround the plants with seasonal items like cones, Christmas balls, or even small artificial evergreen boughs if you are using upright and not trailing plants.

If you have a Norfolk Island Pine, decorate the plant with some small, lightweight Christmas decorations. Be careful not to damage the tree while fastening the decorative items to the tree. Use fasteners that will not damage the stems — and ensure that the items are light enough so that the plant’s branches will not sag from the weight of the ornaments.

Simply wind a piece of tinsel rope in and around potted plants in a table-top display. This will work best if the plants are in jardinières and not sitting in saucers as you do not want the rope coming into contact with water. Silver rope on a silver tray would be quite elegant.

Place a plant or a plant grouping on a brightly coloured Christmas place mat or runner to add a festive note to the indoor landscape. Add a Christmas bow to the base of the plant. This is a good idea for the dining room table and if the plant is not too large, the table can be used day-to-day without disturbing the display.

So get your thinking cap on and fire up your imagination. See how you can include some of your favourite plants in your holiday décor this holiday season.

Albert Parsons is a consultant for garden design and landscaping who lives in Minnedosa.

» communitynews@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 12, 2013

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Decorating for the holidays can be fun.

When performing this pleasurable task, many people remove objects that are normally on display on tables, mantels and shelves in the home and replace them with Christmas items. Vases, bowls, picture frames and ornaments are packed into boxes and banished to some dark closet until after the holiday season.

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Decorating for the holidays can be fun.

When performing this pleasurable task, many people remove objects that are normally on display on tables, mantels and shelves in the home and replace them with Christmas items. Vases, bowls, picture frames and ornaments are packed into boxes and banished to some dark closet until after the holiday season.

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