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Master Gardener Journal  


A S K   A   G A R D E N E R

by Judy Curtis,
Master Gardener


No matter what holidays we're going to be celebrating with family and friends during this very special time of the year, part of the fun is figuring out how make our homes say "Welcome". Here are a few decorating ideas that make good use of our unique Southwestern plant palette.

Spice up the air in your home. Use creosote branches; they keep their leaves and remain fragrant when spritzed with water. Eucalyptus varieties with smaller leaves and citrus also hold up well, and can add their unique scents to the mix.

Make use of color. Nestle bright red pyracantha berries among fresh green boughs. Another good source of red is chuparosa, often in bloom in December with tubular blossoms that smell and taste like cucumber. Bougainvillea and late roses are also in bloom this time of year, and come in a variety of colors.

We even have native mistletoe- no need to buy it. Look for clumps in Palo verde trees .

Flexible vines can be woven into round or heart-shaped wreaths to decorate doors and dining tables. Cape honeysuckle, grapes, trumpetvine and Tecoma stans are other good sources of material. They probably need pruning anyway.

I have seen saguaros dressed in Santa hats and beards, and other imaginative decorations made from tumbleweeds, agave stalks, and the husks of palm fronds. I've even seen ornaments made from bottle tree seedpods sprayed gold.

So be creative. Take a walk or drive around town with an alert eye. Chances are you'll come up with other ideas for inexpensive and unusual seasonal décor.



Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated January 25, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092