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Master Gardener Journal  


G A R D E N   R E C Y C L I N G



Holiday Recycling Tips

by Carol Gallaher,
Master Gardener


Recycling at the holidays can include not only reusing items for decorations and gift packages, but also reusing your holiday decorations and gift-wrap next year.

DECORATIONS:
Evergreen boughs can be used for wreaths, door swags, and table centerpieces. Decorate them with traditional ornaments, candles, or pinecones. For an unusual gardener's touch, decorate them with dried chilies, pomegranates, and gourds.

Also, to display your gardening expertise you can make a ristra from dried chilies and turn it into a wreath. Just tie the ristra into a circle and add a showy colored bow.

Pinecones are a great decorating resource. Simply pile them in a bowl or put a loop of wire on them and hang them. They can be scattered under the tree. They can be spray-painted various colors and used as ornaments, or crafted into "trees" if you're artistic.

I saw a terrific door swag/wall decoration in a craft book. Several small clay pots were spray-painted white, turned upside down, and a traditional ornament was hung inside to form a "bell". They were attached to a green bough with a large red bow. They had even painted a few children's garden tools white and added them.

Rose trellises and upside-down tomato cages can be decorated with boughs or garlands and ornaments to make great reusable decorations.

Holiday cards from this year or previous years can be hung as ornaments. Many craft books also show ornaments that can be made from old cards.

Lovely bowls of fresh fruit or colorful vegetables can be used as centerpieces.

GIFT-WRAP:
Standard household boxes such as those from food products can be spray-painted and used for gifts.

The top and bottom of sturdy boxes can be wrapped separately, making a gift box that can be used many times with just the addition of a ribbon. The wonderful gift bags now available in stores can also be reused many times. Plain brown bags can make unique gift-wrap with some imagination. They can be flattened, cut, and stamped with holiday images or holiday card cutouts glued to the outside of the paper. The entire bag can be folded over and decorated with colorful felt, construction paper, and ribbons-even sequins.

Happy Holiday Recycling!



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