Use a nature theme to bridge from fall to winter decorating

glasses at Lockwood's in Hamburg NY

When it comes to decorating, gardeners like to bring the outdoors inside, and using a nature theme actually makes it easier to transition from fall holidays to winter holidays.

Pine cones are great transitional elements, said Mary Gurtler, designer at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. The wine glasses in the photo above are a great example of that. If I describe them as being painted in fall shades of yellow, brown and green, you can picture them on a Thanksgiving table. But they can also be described as having an evergreen motif with gold accents, and that makes them just as much at home at a Christmas party.deer statue from Lockwood's in Hamburg NY

You can get lots of decorating ideas at Lockwood’s open house to be held  from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Saturday, Nov. 17 at Lockwood’s. The event will include homemade treats and refreshments as well as a preview of holiday gifts and decor. No reservations are required.

For even more decorating ideas, attend one of the classes or hands-on workshops set at Lockwood’s, which are listed at the end of this article.

In addition to pine cones, natural materials you can use in decorating include grapevine, berries and seed heads, said Gurtler. The deer at left can be given “antlers” of branches where your favorite bird can rest. Add holly, lights or red ribbon to give it more of a Christmas feeling.

Adapt items you already have in your home, she suggested. For example, if you display bird houses inside, add some berries, lights or snow, and they become holiday decorations.branch with bird ornament in Hamburg NY

Holiday decorating doesn’t have to be limited to pine trees. If you look around Lockwood’s gift shop, you’ll see a curly willow branch tacked to one wall, a huge branch displayed upright in a very deep  pot in another spot, and a small potted tree that didn’t make it through the harsh summer in yet another area. These can all be decorated with birds, owls and pine cones in the fall. As we get closer to Christmas, add snowflakes and lights. You can use the branches year-round to display seasonal decorations.

Bring items from your garden inside and use them in creative ways, Gurtler said. A bird bath on a pedestal can hold an arrangement of gourds, then it could display a Christmas scene.trellis as Christmas decoration in Hamburg NY

Below is a very different way to use a garden element in Christmas décor. Bring in a trellis and hang it horizontally from the ceiling. Dangle pine cones, Christmas ornaments and other decorations from it, and allow your favorite owl to perch on top. It can create a cozy area, especially in a space with high ceilings.

Many of us have allium in our gardens. (Some of the varieties remind me of giant Tootsie Pops with a very round flower perched atop a straight stem.) They bloom in spring, but the dried flower can add interest to the garden all summer. In the fall, Gurtler brought in the dried flower that you see below left, painted it white and set it atop a Christmas tree. Allium flowers also look spectacular painted black or gold, she said.allium on top of tree in Hamburg NY

Tip: If you don’t have any allium in your garden, hurry and get your bulbs in the ground now. You can plant them until the first week of December or until the ground freezes.

Another way to get creative in your holiday decorating is to look at containers in different ways. The glass box below right was designed as a lantern to hold a candle, but it now displays a Christmas scene. Using a nature theme, you could create a composition that works from fall through winter.

Appeal to other senses when creating a welcoming mood for guests. For many people, the scent of pine and fir makes us instantly think of Christmas. A fresh wreath is one way to bring that into your home. Another way is through scented candles– the Fraser Fir candles really do smell like the real thing. For more of an autumn aroma, you may enjoy a mulled cider-scented candle.

Gurtler and Samantha Platt, another designer who helped decorate Lockwood’s gift shop for fall and winter, will give you nature-inspired ideas in a class on designing a welcoming entryway. See all the classes below.lantern for winter decorations in Hamburg NY


Make a Thanksgiving centerpiece

1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

Make a Thanksgiving centerpiece using real flowers with the help of professional florist Mary Trifunovic in this workshop. The cost is $40.


Design a welcoming entry

10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

Learn how to design a welcoming entryway in this workshop.  Designers Mary Gurtler and Samantha Platt will give you nature-inspired ideas for your doorway using wreaths, swags and container arrangements. The cost is $10.


Make-a-gift workshops

11:30 a.m. and noon Saturday, Dec. 1

Make a seasonal gift using fresh and faux materials in these workshops. In the 11:30 a.m. workshop, make a candle ring, and at noon, make a door handle basket. The cost for each workshop is $20, or both for $35.


Decorate your mantel or sideboard with style

1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2

Learn how to decorate your mantel or sideboard with style in this workshop. David Clark, floral design professional, will show you how to create eye-catching holiday tablescapes. The cost is $10.


Basic wreath workshop

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6

Make a wreath in this workshop with Sally Cunningham, gardening expert. You’ll make a full, beautiful natural greens wreath with bow. The cost is $25.


Mixed greens wreath workshop

10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8

Design an elegant wreath of mixed greens and berries in this workshop with Sally Cunningham, gardening expert. The cost is $37.


Boxwood Tree Workshop

1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9

Mary Trifunovic will help you make a boxwood tree. You’ll make a 16-inch tabletop tree designed with boxwood cuttings and miniature decorations. The cost is $40.


Mixed greens wreath workshop

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12

Design an elegant wreath of mixed greens and berries in this workshop with Sally Cunningham, gardening expert. The cost is $37.


Kissing ball workshop

10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15

Make a kissing ball in this workshop with Sally Cunningham, gardening expert. This is a fun class in making the traditional English kissing ball. The cost is $35.


Make a Christmas centerpiece

1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23

Make a Christmas centerpiece under the guidance of Mary Trifunovic. You will use greens, cones and natural material. The cost is $40.


2 Comments on “Use a nature theme to bridge from fall to winter decorating

  1. Ooh, the mums on the Christmas sound beautiful! I never would have thought of that! Great ideas.

  2. Good ideas. I too use natural elements in home decorating for the holiday season. Willow branches, dried live hydrangea and lime colored mums decorated the tree one year. Handmade garlands and wreaths included field finds of berries and rose hips.

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