Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Use everlastings throughout the house. Make the holiday a merry one with lots of dried flowers. These are suitable for all kinds of Christmas decorations. You can buy ready-made decorations with everlastings, or have a lot of fun making your own.
Wreaths are a great place to start. Begin with a basic fir wreath, and add everlastings to suit your taste. In one Colonial Williamsburg catalog I saw a stunning one that included echinops, globe thistle, dried okra, and pine cones. It was colorful and very unique.
Boxwood is also used to make wreaths. This will be very long-lasting, and is especially fragrant. Add highlights of color by using red or yellow cockscomb, silver Artemisia, and cotton bolls.
Dried poinsettias lend a festive touch of color to a plain wreath. These can also be used to create Christmas cards, collage photo frames, and laminated hanging ornaments.
Besides fresh green wreaths, you can use a standard grapevine wreath as a base. Then add dried roses, hydrangeas, and globe amaranth. For colorful foliage, use gilded salal and holly leaves. You might also want to use some berried stems, such as pepperberries or tallowberries. Bits of juniper also look nice.
Other everlastings that are often used in Christmas wreaths include caspia, white daisies, eucalyptus, flax, dried larkspur, globe amaranth, statice, rice flowers, yarrow, and poppy pods.
Even stems of dried herbs and various kinds of foliage are suitable for holiday decorations. For example, lavender, oregano, and dusty miller are often used.
For a festive touch, you’ll want to add bows and other touches of color. Gold bows are wonderful, because this means the arrangement can be used throughout the winter months. Red bows are best removed and replaced with appropriately colored ones after the holidays are over. I’d rather use a classic gold or silver bow to start with, and avoid extra work later.
In addition to wreaths, there are other ways everlastings can be used to decorate for the holidays. Take a bunch of dried red rosebuds and glue them onto a base to form a five-pointed star. This can be hung on the Christmas tree or wherever you need a touch of seasonal color.
Kissing balls can be made of everlastings. In 1999, the Country Gardens magazine had an article showing one made of dried cockscomb that was just beautiful.
Decorate the table with everlastings. Take a sprig of flowers, herb, or dried foliage, and set it on top of each napkin. Then, wrap a piece of raffia round each napkin so you can tie the everlasting in place.
Buy some small wall baskets made of wicker. These are made to be hung on indoor or outdoor walls. Fill them with dried flowers. For the holidays, attach a bow to the baskets. These can be removed once the holidays are over, while the flowers continue to provide touches of color to the home.
Christmas trees can be decorated with everlastings. The feather Christmas trees, also known as twig trees, are just perfect for these. Dried flowers of all sorts—especially roses--and rose hips are perfect for these miniature, tabletop trees.
These trees were used in the Victorian era, and fell out of favor. Now people are rediscovering them. There are even wooden versions available from various sources. Some people will keep them up year-round, and change the decorations with each season. For instance, at Easter they will put plastic eggs for an egg tree, and later could refurbish it to create a patriotic tree for July 4th, and so on.
In addition to these decorations, you can also use everlastings to decorate gifts. Use these instead of the traditional bows. Usually the everlastings will be glued to the outside of the wrapping paper for this purpose.
So far as the dried flowers are concerned, you can use ones you’ve harvested and dried, or buy ones from commercial sources. Often the commercial ones will be freeze dried, especially roses. This method is great because it preserves the color.