Freshen up your home for the holidays

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Whether it’s a fresh wreath or swag adorning your door, doorways or hallways—these greens can add to your enjoyment of the holiday season.

Making your own wreath or swag isn’t too challenging—it just requires a little work and fresh greenery.

Fresh Wreaths

If you want to display a fresh wreath on your door this holiday season, be sure not to bake your wreath. 

“The items may dry up if your door faces the West, and the sun will bake it,” said David Pippin, a floral designer from Richmond.

There are ways to make a wreath using wet floral foam that holds water. Keeping the wreath wet will help it stay fresher longer. 

If you are buying a fresh wreath or making one without using something that will allow it to stay in water, consider waiting until Dec. 15 to buy or display your wreath. This will allow it to still be alive and on display through Dec. 25.

“As soon as you buy or make the wreath, keep it wet by misting it with a water bottle,” Pippin directed. “Try to keep the wreath out of direct sunlight and continue to mist it regularly when you hang it, if it won’t make a huge mess. It should last about two weeks.”

Holiday Swag

 “You can use all types of evergreens to make your own swag,” said horticulturalist Mark Viette of Augusta County.

Viette recommends using Cypress and Juniper which both have great color. Firs also work well for swag arrangements.

“You can use a tree that has been growing for 20 years or use a newly planted tree,” he said. Cut a nice, long growth from the tree to use for the swag. “You want a nice, long, flat spray for your swag. Take time and pick nice pieces for your swag,” Viette added.

You may want to cut two to four branches of each type of tree or plant that you use.

Once you’ve harvested all of your branches it is time to assemble the swag. “Piecing the swag together is very easy,” Viette said.

First take the greens and wire them together using heavy wire. “You may need to use pliers to tighten the wire,” he added.

Once the greens are together, add in the pine cones, ornaments, bows or ribbon. Use heavy wire around the pine cones, ornaments and other decorations that you want to put on your swag. Use the heavy wire to attach these items.

Consider grouping the pine cones in groups of three.

“You can hang your swag on your front door or on windows,” Viette said. “Apply Wilt Stop to the needles of the evergreen to preserve them so the swag will last longer.”

Swags that have been preserved can last up to six weeks.

A tip for removing sap from your hand? 

Massage your hands with vegetable or olive oil and then wash with soap and water. Stickiness, be gone!

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