Christmas was two weeks ago, but just today I got the pictures from a special Christmas dinner. Very close friends serve a Christmas dinner to friends that is as much a visual as a culinary happening. I am always interested to see how they design their holiday fete. Given that almost everything in my world is one shade of white or another right now, their white Christmas seems entirely appropriate to our current state of affairs.
White in lots of different forms block out the centerpiece that runs the entire length of the table.
Between Steve and I, two crews, and some help from Jenny, Scott, and Julie in the shop, we installed 15 projects this past week. One crew came in Saturday, yesterday, to do my pots at home, and start the holiday display outside the shop-where they got the energy to do this, I have but one idea. They are consummate professionals, all of them. Some jobs were small, and went in quickly. Others were more complicated-holiday decor inside and out, and holiday lighting. Steve worked on our last landscape project of the season every day but Friday-that project is not included in the 15. Needless to say, I did very little in the way of writing, and a lot in the way of work this past week. Any work for the holidays has to be done with dispatch-anyone who asks me to decorate for them wants to have the time to enjoy it. Though we start our season the week before Thanksgiving, the first 10 days of December are always our busiest. I find all the activity stressful, and exhilarating.
I see that decorating schedule repeated in people who come to the Works to shop. There are but a few weeks late in the year to dream it up, and get it done. November and early December have been incredibly mild. This meant more people took the time to decorate outdoors, and put up holiday lighting. It means more people who have the inclination or passion to garden are staying outdoors a while longer. In a good season, I may do 60 landscape projects, 80 annual plantings, and 40 holiday/winter projects. This really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in a greater community the size of mine. The shop is a way in which lots more people are exposed to ideas, materials, and encouragement. When the weather cooperates, I see winter and holiday gardening in lots of places. People we help in the shop go on to represent the holiday in their own special way. The neighborhoods now are full of light, at night. A big celebration going on outdoors-I love this.
We have had only 2 days of temperatures below 30 this season-that is very unusual. A holiday season when the ground goes rock hard before Thanksgiving is more ordinary, and is extra hard work. I have watched my crews pry soil out of pots with a crow bar-it’s not work we look for. It also discourages people from getting their materials out of the basement, attic or garage, and doing their own. This year is shaping up to be a good one-I see good looking work every day, everywhere. We are working-everyone is working! Buck and I went to a party last night just 20 minutes from home. The neighborhood was lit up, decked out, and looking very festive. I almost ran off the road in a few places, trying to get a good look at everything.
Once all of my work is done, Buck will drive, and I will look. I am so interested to see how other people interpret the holidays, decorate their front porches and doors, light their yards. What appeals to me? People taking the time and effort to express themselves.
I decorated 14 wreaths for the shop this year. All of them were made from twigs left over from the 2010 holiday season. In January, Pam and I wove all of these twigs into small wreaths; we put them into storage the first of February. I decorated all of them with natural materials, and knitted birds in late November. This wreath-the last of the lot, was sold to an old client as a gift for his very elderly Mom. He explained to me in great detail why he thought this wreath would be a good gift for her. His gift to me was considerable; we had a conversation, person to person.
I have made 39 wreaths so far this season-I have 10 more to go. I do each and every one of them personally. The holiday pots and installations I design and draw; my crew creates and installs them. But the wreaths cannot be drawn. I just do them. There is a client, an idea or place they have in mind, a color scheme-my clues are many. I write most of that down. I read over the notes just before I get going. Next up? I get going.
14 0f this year’s holiday wreaths are Christmas presents I send out for one client. She has a point of view which I honor; all 14 are different. 12 wreaths were for the shop, a handmade twig wreath was the starting point for all. Thirteen others were individually made for individual clients. Individual places.
I have 10 more wreaths to go. Am I complaining? Yes-I wish I had more. I do truly enjoy this part of the holiday season. I plan to have all 10 done by the end of the day Tuesday. More likely, I will be done Thursday.
This client? They have been great clients for many years. Would I please funk it up a little this year? In red and green? Am I happy to oblige? No doubt, I am.