How to Dress Your Mantel with Garden Evergreens

Dress Your Mantel With Evergreen Garden Foliage

I don’t have a mantel (yet) in my current home, but in my previous home, I dressed the mantel every year with foliage I clipped from my or my neighbor’s garden (with their kind permission, of course). I’ve found that even indoors without water, most of the foliage would last a week or two, just enough to add some color and cheer during the holidays.

Evergreen Mantel Dressing

These photos show one of my favorite arrangements, with sprays of euonymous and holly in the center, framed by fanning branches of nandina and cotoneaster on either side, all sitting on a bed of arborvitae clippings. I love the variety of greens and the bright red berries, contrasted with the cream stocking holders in front.

Evergreen Mantel Dressing

Evergreen Mantel Dressing

Because I love to create these holiday displays, both indoors and out, I try to include a variety of good evergreens in my garden. The broad-leaved evergreens in particular work well in a cottage-style garden, especially those with a loose habit or tiny leaves. Some of my favorites, and those that I used in this arrangement, are:

Parney’s Red Clusterberry (Cotoneaster lacteus / C. parneyi) This cotoneaster can get a bad rap because of it’s untidy habit and fast growth, but the unbelieveable profusion of red berries makes it a shrub worth considering. It can tolerate extreme clipping, even to being shaped into a living fix-foot wall only 6″ thick.

“Silver Princess” Boxleaf Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Moness’) This euonymus truly has a “box” leaf, with tiny green leaves like a boxwood, edged in light cream. It’s relatively slow growing and takes clipping well, providing a lighter, creamier version anywhere you might use a box, such as a topiary or hedge.

“Silver King” Boxleaf Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Silver King’). Silver King has larger leaves than the Silver Princess, and the variegation is more toward the yellow end. Like most euonymus it enjoys partial shade and can be clipped or shaped and survives containers well.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) Most people are aware of heavenly bamboo from it’s near overuse in new developments and commercial properties. But when kept unclipped, it’s graceful vase-shaped habit, four-season interest, and tolerance for both shade, sun and air pollution make it an excellent choice for any garden.

And finally, the basics of green holly and arborvitae. What about you? Do you grow things in your garden just to have the clippings? What are your favorite evergreens?

Love, Angela



7 responses to “How to Dress Your Mantel with Garden Evergreens”

  1. I never seem to be in one house long enough to grow things that will serve me in the future, but my all time favourite greenery to decorate with at Christmas is seeded Eucalyptus and cedar boughs. Oh, and winterberries…you can’t forget those!!I will reply to your email later today. Gotta go out for lunch now with hubby before the kids are all home for the holidays!Love that mantel arrangement!Linda xoxo

  2. Unfortunately I am growing snow in my garden this year. Looks festive, but has a tendency to melt when used in mantel displays. In our climate we have mostly white pines( very tall, messy trees) and we can grown holly, arborvitae,and some euonymus. I have never seen Nandina, although I know they use it extensively in the south.I usually get clippings from the side of the road or the highway. I love to get Juniper with the wonderful blue berries and sometimes the foliage has almost a rusty tinge and we have Hemlock and the ubiquitous Yews that grow out of control.I usually clip about 2 weeks before Christmas and this year not only did it sneak up on me, but we got all this snow and now there is no place to pull over and wade thru the crusty, now slightly dirty snow. Poor me, I went to the Nursery and bought some cedar and balsam boughs yesterday. I’ll put the up today. My house is on Virtual Tour today, stop by.Janet

  3. I’ve searched your blog for a “bio” to see if you’re a professional decorator because you’ve certainly got an eye for it……and as a decorator once told me, “you’ve got some fabulous accessories!” The mixture of colors and textures of the greenery are what bring interest to the display.My fave? Blue spruce. You’re post has encouraged me to go cut some today. And since all our Christmas decorations are trapped in the crawl space, I’ll simply be satisfied with some greenery on the mantle!

  4. So beautiful! I love the way it all looks so pulled together. I will have to check some of those out when I get started on my spring planning. I love boxwood, arborvitae and holly too.

  5. Hi AngelaFresh greenery is so nice for Christmas. Your mantle looks great. When are we going to see your tree? I want to see how those red and white balls look/ Rhondi

  6. The Feathered Nest (Manuela's) Avatar
    The Feathered Nest (Manuela’s)

    Beautiful mantle! I wish I’d seen it before I did mine cause I would have thought to add some eunomyous. My Nandina is more orange than red so that wouldn’t have worked. To answer your question, I don’t specifically grow anything just for the use of clippings. I grow everything you mentioned in your post except the Cotoneaster which I’ve been thinking about adding. I used clipping from my Leyland Cypress this year and I’m very happy with the way it’s lasting – much neater than pine clippings!Manuela

  7. Michele Avatar

    Hmmm…I can’t see the picture on this post either, except for the first one. The first one is gorgeous! I love the holiday cheer it brings out, and the reindeer is so cute.Hopefully this Christmas I’ll get to see how awesome you decorate for the holidays now that I’ve found your blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *