Fresh Holiday Garden

Edited by Moe Godat


Looking to spruce up your mantel or railings this holiday season with a new type of fresh and fragrant holiday garland? Here are some St. Louis landscapers’ favorite varieties!


Information provided by Angela Carter and Michael Horwedel from Mary Tuttle’s Flowers: Photography provided by the Magnolia Company.

Magnolia, also known as champak or Magnolia champaca

Magnolia garland is one of those holiday decorations that is timeless. It has great color and texture that adds a casual, yet elegant touch and can actually be used year-round if it fits your decor style.  We love using on mantels, staircases and around doors!  Add a magnolia wreath as a finishing touch to your door or mantel. Your magnolia garland or wreath can live up to four years if cared for properly!

When to purchase: 2 to 3 weeks prior to your event.

Location: It thrives both indoors and on outdoor covered porches.

Special display procedures: To prolong the freshness, keep away from direct sunlight, excessive moisture and heat sources. Once in place, magnolia garlandwill start drying naturally.

Hydration Tips: Lightly hydrate the magnolia garland to keep its leaves from drying out quickly (although some prefer the dried look of magnolia too). Use a small spray bottle and simply mist the leaves lightly by keeping the bottle about eight inches from the magnolia.

For a long-lasting evergreen for holiday displays indoors and out, Arborvitea makes a top choice. Loaded with refreshing scent it works well in garlands, swags or in mixed containers with other seasonal ornaments. Fresh greenery will last indoors for about two weeks; it will last outdoors considerably longer. To get the longest life out of your evergreens, cut off the bottom of the stems and soak in water before making your arrangements, display the greens out of direct sunlight and mist with water. Ann Lapides, Sugar Creek Gardens.

The beautiful boxwood adorns our St. Louis homes and yards and is part of the Thanksgiving and Christmas scene not only in St. Louis but throughout the south. This plant gives our yards beautiful displays of shiny shrubs all year round. It’s leaves are a beautiful green and the stems dry easily and can be cut in generous branches to make garlands and topiary displays, as well as in vases of water. Boxwood is always a part of my Christmas mantel and table. Meg Huber, Garden Party Florists & Gifts.

I prefer locally grown economical white pine roping. Pine roping is easy to attach sprigs of holly or ornaments to for holiday decorations. David Sherwood, Sherwood's Forest Nursery.

As much as we adore Eucalyptus year round, we absolutely love incorporating it into garlands for the holidays. A beautiful aromatic, its clean and refreshing scent is calming to the body and mind. Eucalyptus garlands look gorgeous on your mantel, tabletop, doors and banisters. It is also uniquely versatile, working perfectly in the most elegant, and equally in the most rustic, settings. Krysta Wenski, Zengel Flowers and Gifts

My favorite fresh holiday greens to use for garlands is western cedar. The foliage has weight that will give the garland a graceful swag when placed on a mantel or above a doorway. The quintessential holiday green color is the perfect base for layering: pine cones, berries and ribbons and bows. Western cedar has a tendency to dry quickly. Carefully misting the garland will keep the foliage fresh longer allowing you to enjoy your holiday decor at its best! Resito Pecson, twigs & MOSS.