There's no better time than December to pull out all the stops with fresh floral arrangements, especially when they are placed in interesting containers and heirlooms you already own.
ANEMONES: Tie them in a bunch to create a topiary. Line three or five down the center of a table.
AMARYLLIS: Display in full bloom, cut short, and mass in low arrangements. Or dress them up in their pots by replacing their support stick with a graceful twig or tying a branch of holly berries to the stem with raffia.
FRUITS: Line vases with smaller fruits, such as kumquats or cranberries. To do this, take two different-size vases of the same shape, and place the smaller one inside the larger; fill the space between them with a single type of fruit. Fill the inside vase with water, and add flowers.
WHOLE NUTS: Scatter them on the table under and around a textural, earthy arrangement. To fashion a swag for a mantel from whole walnuts, cover chicken wire with fabric, and then hot-glue the nuts to that form. The garland will be heavy, so be sure you have a way to secure it before you spend the time making it.
Cutting amaryllis in peppermint stripes is a fun way to add some holiday cheer and the arrangement will last for up to a week. Tall vases of white and silver balls mixed with pinecones can stay up well after Christmas is over.
Slices of dried oranges hung by ribbons not only bring color to your tree, but smell amazing.
Some of you may remember making these and other homemade ornaments for your tree as a child. (The Master Gardeners tree at Sorghum Valley) was decorated with ornaments made from nature alone. Pinecones were sprayed red, white and glittered. Magnolia pods were sprayed with glitter and wreaths were made from cranberries and sprayed to keep birds from eating them. Snowmen were made from clay pots and painted white, magnolia leaves and dogwood branches sprayed red or gold, dried hydranges, and other nature items complete this nature wonder of a Christmas tree.
* Decorate with lights - Dress it up with festive "evening wear". Ribbons shimmer in the glow cast by braiding several light strands with bulbs of various colors and sizes. Place in the bottom of the container.
You can also just fill up a large pot with soil and lay lights on top (even last year's tangled ones), then insert branches and dried weeds from the wild. Another idea is to use pinecones, bright-red inexpensive tree ornaments and greenery to fill clay pots of different sizes.
If you have benches or chairs, decorate with greenery and red mesh bows for a festive look.
If you have a staircase with a banister, gather bunches of greenery from the tree, branches of holly or eucalyptus and tie them to alternating balusters to create a visual pathway up the stairs. Bunches of greenery tied with ribbon are also a festive addition to the guest bathroom, wrapped around towels or hung from the shower curtain rod.
Every spot in your house that has a touch of natural décor ties in beautifully with your tree and table, to bring a natural touch of the holidays to every room.