The Holiday At Home

I am so close to being home for the holidays.  The whirlwind of winter and holiday containers, holiday and winter lighting, the  the late landscape installations, and cut flowers for parties came to a close yesterday afternoon.  How I like the energy and enthusiasm that describes busy-this year was exceptionally so.  The change of the seasons is a natural event to be treasured, but I am ready to be home for the holidays.  

Angie and I did make a garland for my house.  Thick with multiple species of fir, pine cones, and magnolia branches-it was heavy, long, and lush.  We added large sugar cones, grapevine balls and magnolia stems.  The entire horizontal portion of the garland is zip tied to a 12′ bamboo pole.  This detail is essential, should you want your garland straight.  The grapevine garland over all adds volume and dimension. Steve and my crew made fairly quick work of putting it up. (How is it that they make everything seem easy?) This loosely constructed natural garland-my most favorite ever.  It compliments the vintage architecture of my 1930’s home.

My winter pots are simple.  Tree of heaven stalks-5 in each pot, surrounding a spotlight.  I like seeing the evidence of the fire within.  The mixed fir greens are loaded with chartreuse mini lights.  Thank you so much English Gardens, for offering lights in chartreuse green.  Outside all-my newly installed landscape lighting.  The stole of dry flower heads from my own limelights impart a warm look.

Though Southern magnolia is not native to my zone, the glossy leaves and felted obverse is striking in the winter, no matter how you use them.  A few twigs and some cut boxwood to fill give the pots some heft against the brick.  That warm and congested look will look great, given the addition of a little snow.

For a while I thought I might skip the holiday decorating at home altogether, but this helped revive my interest. 

 Off the deck, a rectangular Hudson box from Branch is stuffed with big stick stems wound round with grapevine, pearl lights, and chartreuse mini lights.  Not only does this winter pot delight me, it lights the stairs that go down to the garden.  Who goes into the garden at night?  That would be me, with the Corgis in tow, at 6pm for an evening tour.  I appreciate a lighted path, as it is dark so early now. 

I sold the pair of tapered Hudson pots that I had planted for fall early in the holiday season, thinking Buck would be able to make me a new pair in time for the holidays.  He has been at least as busy as I, filling special orders for fountains and boxes.  This winter arrangement is bright enough to see from the driveway.  I like getting a welcome home the m,inute I arrive. 

The lighting in front is the best it has ever been.  Of course a slow exposure makes it seem much brighter than it looks in person, but too bright might be a virtue this time of year.  I no longer worry about guests tripping up or down the steps-the walk is well lit. 

I did put holiday lights up over the garland to match the lights in the pots-just for atmosphere.  Chances are very good I will leave them on until after Valentine’s Day.  Why not?

I was ready for the first snow.  As for the inside-better than half way home.


  1. Jane Cruickshank says

    I absolutely love this years garland and it is indeed the best one ever…ever. Please leave it up well after Valentine’s Day….leave it up until next Christmas. I am already thinking about one of your garlands for next year. You do beautify the world.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Jane, I’ll have to take the garland down…in late January! It would be a fire hazard to leave it up any longer! But the chartreuse lights might be just fine for Valentines. I don’t know about the world, but my little patch of ground is making me happy right now! Deborah

  2. I really like your garland. It’s beautiful, like everything you make.

  3. Your garland is utterly to die for. I love it. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

  4. do you dip or spray your magnolia for longer/fresher look?

  5. Cannot believe how the brown undersides of the magnolia foliage POPS!

    The browner the underside the hardier the magnolia.

    Pic in front with snow is a postcard. And testament to your talents. Also, Rosemary Verey’s book, The Garden In Winter. It’s still my favorite ‘design’ book of all time.

    Same thing here when the guys do stuff for me. Seems so ‘easy’. When I have plans to do things in the garden, on my own, make my list, then execute. Ridiculous. My brain is hardwired to what the guys can get done in 4 hours !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    • Deborah Silver says

      Browner is hardier? The best part about gardening-you really do learn something new most every day. My crews have been with me long enough that they intuit much more than talk.

  6. Your garlands this year are incredible. They are providing me with much inspiration for next year … especially your light garlands … those are awesome! I loved the hint about mounting garlands on bamboo poles in order to keep them straight … what a timesaver!

    I wish you some well earned Peace this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Richard, the shop just closed! I have only to make a cup of coffee, finish the wreath for the front door, load up Buck’s presents and the corgis, and go home for our Christmas Eve celebration. All is well. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours too. Thanks, Deborah

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