Create holiday decor with elements of nature
Making holiday decorations from fresh greens is easier than you think.
All you need is some pine and other greens, a glue gun, ornaments, berries, flowers and ribbon.
That was the message Larry Tempo, head designer and wedding consultant at Coulson's Floral in Lower Burrell, conveyed to members of the Pucketos Garden Club at their December meeting at Hill Crest Country Club in Lower Burrell.
Tempo showed members of the club how to create a wreath for a door, a table centerpiece and a festive outdoor bucket with live greens.
He began with two pre-made wreaths, which you can buy at the floral shop and several other locations, and added other greens, bulbs and ribbon, sharing his trick of twisting the ribbon as you fashion it into a bow.
“Don't be afraid of pine — you all can do this,” Tempo says. “You might learn some mechanics from me, but really there is no right or wrong in creating centerpieces or wreaths or outdoor decorations.”
You don't have to go and purchase the materials. You can find pine and other items in your own yard.
Tempo took an old pot — you can pretty much use any type of container — to make an outside decoration filled with several greens, bulbs, berries and poinsettias. You can placed Styrofoam in the bottom to help it keep its shape.
When making this item, start in the back, then add in the front and then go for the middle. If you are using branches that tend to hang down or droop as they dry out, place them in front.
The key to a centerpiece is first deciding how tall you want it to be. If it's going to be in the middle of a table, make sure when people sit down they can still see each other and aren't being blocked by the decoration. A taller piece would be great for an entryway or credenza.
He started with a foam base and added pieces of pine and other greens, candles which he cut at an angle before placing them inside (and if you want to burn candles keep them away from the pine), berries, pine cones and painted leaves (or fake leaves).
Take care of greens
Whatever holiday decoration you decide to make, it doesn't have to be only green and red because it's the holiday season, Tempo says.
“Incorporate the colors you like,” he says. “It's also good to mix dark and light greens, especially if you are staying strictly to that hue.”
The biggest concern for these types of arrangements is that the greens have a water source, either from a foam base or by just misting the leaves.
“It's nature,” he says. “You are members of the garden club, so you know how it all works. All you are doing is honoring Mother Nature with these arrangements.
“I wanted to inspire you with how to make these decorations,” Tempo says. “And if you like doing it, you will enjoy it. ... I am pretty sure every member here has a good eye as to what they like and what looks good.”
Tempo was invited to speak by the club's social chairs, Marsha Ewing of Plum and Eleanor Chodelka of New Kensington.
“We try to have entertaining meetings,” Ewing says. “And we like to learn things about nature and the outdoors since we all enjoy being outside and tending to our own yards. It's a pretty amazing group that is committed to the community and giving back.”
The Pucketos Garden Club of New Kensington was founded in 1933 and is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania and National Garden Clubs Inc. It has 45 members.
The club holds meetings the first Monday of each month, except January and July.
The club maintains a garden in Memorial Park, a Veterans Memorial on Main Street, and the Pink Garden at the municipal building. Some of their activities include garden therapy, creating favors and decorations for senior care facilities and programs for children and youth. The club's biggest annual fundraiser is a Victorian Tea held the first Friday in August.
“All of the arrangements are beautiful,“ says Pat Lance of Springdale, the newly installed garden club president. “He did a wonderful job of showing us how we can make these on our own. I certainly learned a lot. I think we all did.”