We’re moving this party over!

In a little reshuffle, we’ve decided to move this blog to our larger site (even more great articles and information about gardening, entertaining, and outdoor living over there!).  So follow us over to The Garden Gab where we’ve posted all the articles from the Garden Gala along with some really great new ones.  We’ll leave the Garden Gala up and be checking any comments, but we’re going to be adding new content exclusively on the Garden Gab- just think of it as a one stop, fabulous reference for all your gardening and entertaining needs!

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Warmth Outside Every Window

An easy, pretty project for your forlorn garden structures
With the frenzy of  the holidays, it’s easy to forget or even to neglect our back gardens, our private outdoor spaces that we think no one will enjoy except us.  When we would most benefit from a peaceful escape, a warm, comforting vision just for ourselves, we have no time to create one.  Too busy with the perfection of our public spaces, our living and dining rooms, our yards and entryways are lavished with decorating attention while our back gardens, our rear facing windows languish in the cold, dark holiday months.
For many of us, the issue is not only time, but money and space as well.  Sometimes, though, the small bright moments that only we experience by the tree, watching winter birds fill our quiet gardens or “stopping by woods on a snowy evening” are exactly the refresher and refiller that we most need during this demanding time of year. 
Take a half hour to make a pretty, private space for you, indoors or out, wherever you can escape to most often.  Half an hour, a string of lights, a few of your favorite ornaments and a walk through the woods or your garden are all it will take to make your space special and festive this year.  Collecting your decorations might also be just the refreshment you need to tackle the next series of holiday tasks.
We took a forlorn, empty trellis from the garden after it’s climbers had been removed for the winter.  Using pine boughs that were being trimmed anyway (you can also use pine boughs left over from resizing and centering your christmas tree or cut fresh ones) and some fresh cut snowberries that grow here naturally (you can use any berry sprigs, pine cones or rosehip laden branches too, just make sure your ingredients won’t be toxic to children or pets) we created a trellis to place outside our rear windows, to peak at when our spirits need refreshing.  Starting with the pine branches we wove our elements into the frame of the trellis.  Our trellis has lots of slender supports, so it was easy to make the boughs stay put without even adding twine.  (Our trellis is the Balmoral Trellis from The Trellis Store )  However, if your trellis has wide spacing, utilize some colorful red ribbon to attach fans of pine or hold large boughs to the trellis.  We added the lights next, making sure to keep the last bit of cord and the plugs well hidden in the back.  Either weaving the lights through the boughs or adding a few extra sprays of pine over the lights will give your trellis extra depth and hide a lot of staging if you need to use extra twine or extension cords.  Lastly, we added our berries, which stood out nicely against the green branches.  We just poked them through the pine branches wherever we saw too much unbroken green.

A close up of our holiday trellis elements

You can add a few of you favorite ornaments or lights (we added a tree topper) or you can leave it simple and elegant.
We chose to place ours outside a rear window looking out into the backyard, where we can peak at it or enjoy it as we sit in our outdoor space.  You may choose to move your trellis indoors.  If you do, try baking your pine boughs at low heat (not above 200) for about 20 minutes to get rid of creepy crawlies and to fill your space with a warm pine scent. 
Even (or maybe especially) if your guests never see it, this pretty project will be a source of quiet, natural enjoyment for weeks to come. 

Fall Figures

With the days getting shorter and the gardens tilled and covered, late autumn can seem pretty dreary.  Rather than seeing only the drab shades of brown that are left after the fall foliage is all gone, November is a perfect and fleeting time to appreciate the unadorned form and figures nature offers us. 

Before the snow flies and hides the clean lines of trees and stones, take a moment to bring these simple decorations into your fall decorating.  Whether it’s taking photographs of your empty garden at dusk or collecting and drying ornamental grasses and grapevines, you can have a piece of the outdoors with you even during the coldest months. 

Decorating with fall forms can range from elaborately ornamented centerpieces to simple berry and grapevine wreaths, depending on your style.  The important thing to remember with fall decorations is not to hide the shape of your materials.  Let the bare bones shine through and give your decorating pieces the freedom to shape themselves as they will.  It’s all about working with the original form.  You will find that your pieces will be more interesting and feel more natural if you do.