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Now's the time to plan your holiday d/cor

By Staff
The time of year when people are inspired to decorate their homes is upon us once again.
You may have already put up a tree, hung wreaths on the walls and doors and garland on the mantle. That's a lot of green in the house, but it's easy to spice things up. Just add colorful flowers.
You may be thinking to yourself, "Where in the world am I going to find flowers? All the plants have gone dormant and it's snowing outside." Flowers may be in short supply in your backyard, but they are still growing in other places, and are plentiful at your local flower shop or floral department.
"Red roses and carnations are extremely popular around the holidays. So are blue irises and lilies, but decorating at this time of year doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick to the traditional colors of red and green, or for those of the Jewish faith, blue. I recommend that people look for flowers that will accentuate the hues in their home decor," said Jill Slater, the design spokesperson for the Flower Promotion Organization.
If you have yellow walls in your dining room, for example, she recommends you turn a gold Christmas ornament upside down, fill it with water, set it in a napkin ring and add a handful of yellow daisy mums.
"Silver, gold, bronze and brass accents add a nice touch, too," she adds.
This time of year, Slater travels the country reminding people that flowers make great complements to their holiday decorations. You may have caught one of her appearances on your local television station where she shared these "recipes."
Topiary holiday "tree"
For a simple yet festive holiday centerpiece that's easy to make, fill a holiday-inspired mug with a topiary Christmas tree of red Gerbera Daisies and tied with a festive holiday ribbon. Cover the foam with cranberries for a picture perfect look.
You will need: 10 red gerbera daisies, 1 red or green mug, one-half brick floral foam, 2-feet holiday ribbon, Fresh cranberries, 1 rubber band, flower preservative.
Step 1 — Fill container with wet floral foam (soaked in water and flower preservative for at least 30 minutes). Gather the flowers in the web of your hand (between thumb and other fingers), holding them just under the bloom. The flowers should tuck neatly into each other. If right handed gather the flowers in your left hand. Rubber band the stems together and bring the rubber band up just under the blooms. This will make the gerberas perky and straight.
Step 2 — Hold all the stems of the flowers in a neat bundle, cut them about 1" from the bottom with a sharp knife or pruning shears or clippers. Insert the bunch into the center of the floral foam.
Step 3 — Cover the floral foam with fresh cranberries. Using your favorite holiday ribbon, tie a bow around the rubber band. For trans-seasonal appeal, change the color of the Gerberas or try other flower varieties as Iris, standard and miniature Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Roses and Lilies. Be sure to match the container and ribbon color to the season.
Warm Up Wreath
Customize an evergreen wreath by accessorizing it with fresh cut flowers. It doesn't take a lot of effort or flowers to turn a regular green wreath into the star of your neighborhood.
Materials: One 12-inch evergreen wreath, 1 spool of narrow gauge wire, three to five 2-inch clay pots, 1 to 3 flowers for each clay pot (red roses look gorgeous), floral clippers, flower foam for each pot, flower preservative.
Step 1 — Soak the floral foam in water and flower preservative for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2 — Run a 16-inch piece of wire through the drainage hole of the pot. Twist the wires together to hold the pot tightly.
Step 3 — Place the wire pot on the wreath and thread the wires through the wreath to make a sturdy attachment. Twist the wires on the back of the wreath to permanently adhere the pot. Now do the same for the other clay pots. Scatter the pots throughout the wreath or as you desire.
Step 4 — Fill the pots with floral foam, cut the flowers with a sharp knife or floral clippers, and insert short cut flowers. Each pot should hold 1 to 3 flowers.
For more of Slater's design ideas, or to order a free brochure about decorating with flowers, log on to