Decorating With Evergreens

by Carol Newcomb

What are the best evergreens for decorating this holiday season? Look no further than your yard or garden which can provide unique and long-lasting material for outdoor and indoor adornment. In this article, we will describe evergreens we grow in our garden, and how we use them in an attractive holiday arrangement.

Here in the Evergreen State, we have a wide variety of evergreen choices that provide an amazing combination of year-round colors, textures, and shapes. We grow many kinds of pine and recommend the smaller varieties. Pinus Burke’s Red Variegated has bright green and yellow needles and Pinus Extra Blue grows long blue needles. We have an abundance of Ponderosa and Austrian Pine in our native landscape which we use for holiday decorating.

Spruce is a hardy evergreen that does well on the West Plains and can be found almost anywhere. Fat Albert Spruce has silver-blue needles and Niemetz Spruce grows creamy white needles in the spring and turns blue throughout the season. Both are smaller trees perfect for the garden and using during the holidays. 

We have found juniper to be a wonderfully hardy landscape shrub, but we advise people to be aware of how large they can get. We grow Moonglow which is bushy and upright, deer resistant and is a striking blue color. We recommend a variegated juniper with white and green foliage called Variegated Hollywood Juniper.  

If you’ve been to our garden, you know we grow a lot of boxwood as hedges and topiary. The texture and color of boxwood is essential to holiday arrangements because they are long lasting, both indoor and outdoor. We recommend Chicagoland for its hardiness to zone 4. One of our year-round favorites it the yellow or red twig dogwood. We love the creamy white and green variegated leaves of some varieties as well as the dark red branches of the Arctic Fire Red Twig Dogwood, which makes a striking contrast with the evergreens in the garden and arrangements. 

Don’t forget the red berries! Some of our favorites are winterberry, evergreen holly, and any kind of rose hips.  All of them provide a spot of brightness in the winter and keep the birds happy. 

There are many choices of evergreens for your landscape. Check out the garden center this spring for all these varieties. Bring your questions and we will help you pick the best options for your garden! 

Use this step-by-step guide to create a container pot for your front door!

‘Tis the season for decking the halls and trimming the trees! We love using evergreens from the garden to create a festive look to our porch and indoors this time of year.  A few of the impressive pieces we love to create are wreaths, table centerpieces, urns and vases, and large pots for the front entry. You can create a simple piece using only two or three materials mentioned above, or you can gather many different items, including accessories from the craft store, to create something really over the top for your porch or Christmas dinner table. 

1. The first step is choosing a container. If you have a leftover container that was full of annuals during the summer months, clear out the debris and you have a perfect base for your evergreen arrangement! If you do not have a container from summer, any kind of container that will hold soil will be perfect. Soil makes a perfect base to hold your evergreens in place and keep them fresh. If the soil is frozen, bring indoors for a few hours to thaw or pour hot water over the soil so that you can push branches into the soil. Once the outdoor arrangement is complete, the soil will re-freeze and hold your arrangement in place. Evergreens will soak up the moisture in the soil and will stay fresh for Christmas and often through the month of January. 

2.  Consider that you need something tall to give impact to your pot. This is called a thriller; and can be branches of Red Twig Dogwood, Curly Willow, Arctic Willow, or tall tree branches. This creates height at the center of the pot. A striking and festive idea is using white Birch Tree branches, which are more difficult to find but if you have them growing in your garden, you will love the contrast to greens and reds. 

3.  The second addition is called a spiller. This will be any sort of evergreen that is graceful and will drape over the side of the pot to give softness to the arrangements. Many pine varieties are great for this look, such as Ponderosa and Austrian pine. Sequoia with its delicate texture is a perfect spiller for any pot, centerpiece, or wreath. Sequoia is a premium tree for our area and has attractive blue-green, ferny boughs.

4.  The final touch of the arrangement is called a filler. This includes any material you can add to fill in the gaps and create a globe or spherical effect. We used blue spruce and variegated boxwood both from our garden. We add red winterberry branches for splashes of bright color. Fillers can be used to create your signature personality, pinecones, berries, ornaments, feathers, candles, or perhaps a bow for additional color. 

Once you’ve gathered your pot and materials, this project will take only 10 minutes to create! Have fun, scour your garden for new things, and be creative! 

Carol Newcomb and her husband Terry have been owners of Northland Rosarium for 15 years. Carol grew up in North Spokane learning how to garden in her parent’s large flower and vegetable gardens. She became a Master Gardener in Bonner County and contributed to several public gardens while pursuing her first love of growing English delphiniums. After she completed her degree in horticulture, she purchased the Rosarium and transformed it from a small local shop to a full service nursery, offering specialty clematis, perennials, conifers and trees, statuary and metalwork, and shipping thousands of roses per year across the U.S. In her spare time, Carol cultivates the 2.5 acre display garden in Spokane which has thousands of roses and unique features enjoyed by visitors from all over the country. Growing plants has been a lifelong love for the Newcombs and continues to this day.

Northland Rosarium –
9405 S. Williams Lane, Spokane WA 99224
509-448-4968 –

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