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Holiday decorating around the Preserve

With the holidays upon us, it is time to decorate!

Decorated holiday wreaths have been placed around some of the Preserve properties as they were last year. I greatly enjoy decorating for the holidays, Christmas especially. With this year being so unpredictable I hope the wreaths bring extra cheer and something familiar. The wreaths are at McAlpin Farm and the Greenrock facility for staff to enjoy. Preserve visitors to Little Long Pond will see wreaths at the main entrance gate and the Boat House.

We start with undecorated wreaths from Frost Farms. They use balsam, pine, arborvitae, and incense cedar which makes for a beautifully textured base. The real fun for me is getting creative with sourcing and making the decorations and then assembling the wreath itself. When the placement of a decoration is just right, I tend to let out a little yip of excitement.

For the Little Long Pond main entrance gate wreaths, I like to keep the colors somewhat traditional. One of my favorite adornments is the beautiful bright red berries of winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Their intense color is simply unmatched. Pinecones are a must and I like to add a little island flair with mussel shells.

I love the bright pastel green color and puffy shape of reindeer moss (Cladonia), which is actually a lichen. This is the one decoration that takes the most time and care to gather and prepare. Reindeer moss is very slow growing, at a rate of up to one centimeter per year. Because of this, I hike all around to gather it from different areas that have big stands and only take a few handfuls from each area.

For the Little Long Pond Boat House wreath, I use bright colors to draw people in. To add a bright pop of green I add sprigs of false cypress, Chamaecyparis pisifera and for something different I like the steely blue berries of bayberry, Morella caroliniensis.

I hope these wreaths bring people joy and a spark of creativity with their own holiday decorations. Happy holidays everyone!

Margaret Handville, Gardener - Thuya Garden

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