Tag: winter

How to Make Holly Luminaries

It’s party time! We’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season and the parties are in full swing. During a bout of mild weather I hosted an impromptu gathering by the outdoor fireplace. The fire kept us warm and everyone agreed that it was nice to get some fresh air. There was hot chocolate, finger foods and s’mores – you can’t have a party around a fire without s’mores!

Set up was simple with Christmas lights to set the mood and a fire to serve as the focal point. For the buffet I dressed up a teak table with a red table cover from Tablevogue and a centerpiece made with a few logs from the firewood pile, Mason jars, holly leaves and votive candles. Here is how I put it together.

Materials:


3 firewood logs
6 Mason jars in different sizes
Holly branches with berries
6 votive candles
Water
Evergreen boughs

Directions:

Cut the logs into pedestals of various heights.

Place the holly leaves and berries in the jars. Fill with water and drop in a votive candle.

Arrange the log pedestals and Mason jars on a table. Add a few evergreen boughs as a finishing touch. Voila! Christmas!

Outdoor Winter Entertaining Tips

  • No fireplace? A fire pit or chiminea will work just as well.
  • Have a few blankets on hand to keep folks extra warm.
  • Tablevogue table covers are handy for gatherings because they are easy to use, fit well and the pleats make these table covers look sophisticated. They are also machine washable, which is a bonus when food and drinks are involved.
  • Serve foods such as fondue or slidders that are easy to handle with cold fingers or gloves on.

So when the temperatures drop, never fear. There are lots of ideas you can use to enjoy some of that colder weather and create a memorable time with your friends.

Mythological Amaryllis

In Greek mythology Amaryllis was a lovesick shepherdess who stood at the door of her intended every night piercing her heart with a golden arrow. From her wounds sprung an exquisite flower.

Now that’s what I call the hard way to grow these gorgeous blooms. Unlike the Amaryllis in Greek mythology you can grow dramatic blooms this winter without a single puncture to the heart. Simply pot up a few bulbs this fall. With a little water and sunshine you’ll have breathtaking blooms in just over a month.

Here are a few varieties I’m trying this year. I feel certain that if Amaryllis had these to offer her flower-loving beau her fate would have been much rosier.

Amaryllis Dancing Queen

Clockwise from left: ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Double Dragon’, ‘Blossom Peacock’.

Amaryllis Clown

Amaryllis ‘Clown’

Amaryllis Varieties

Clockwise from left: ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Red Pearl’, ‘Vera’, ‘Elvas’.

 

Twigs, Barks and Berries

The Farmer’s Almanac had it right when they predicted a mild winter for Arkansas. We’ve only had a handful of nights below freezing and just one dusting of snow. That’s quite a difference from last year’s numerous winter storms.

This year’s more peaceful weather gives me more opportunities to be outdoors enjoying the quiet beauty in the garden.

The sister oaks. I love the bare, dark branches against the grey sky.

One of my favorite winter shrubs is Ilex decidua, a deciduous holly.

Red stems of 'Princess' peach trees.

I leave ornamental grasses uncut through winter for texture and wildlife. I'll cut them back in early February.

Arborvitae offers color throughout winter.

Winter Solstice

If you’ve been suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD), take heart because the winter solstice is tomorrow. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year and marks the start of winter. It also signals the beginning of more daylight hours, which is certainly reason to celebrate!

To mark the day I like to get my hands in the soil. Weather permitting, I’ll putter around the garden or I’ll plant something indoors like paperwhite bulbs or some sweetpea seed for placing in a cold frame. At dusk I’ll watch the sunset, turn on the Christmas tree lights and make a mental note that spring is just 90 days away.