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Bouquet hunting in your winter garden; from December on there's still much to choose.

Bouquet hunting in your winter garden

Winter is different in the low-elevation West. While gardens in other climates are bare and leafless, here gardens are flaunting some of their brightest greens.

On clear winter days, you can take a break from the holiday bustle to collect plant material to brighten the house.

At first glance, you may think your garden has nothing worth cutting: even here, winter color can be subtle. To make the most of the Western winter's decorating opportunities, play up these subtleties in an evergreen bouquet.

Unlike the floral arrangements of spring and summer, an evergreen bouquet relies on the colors and textures of foliage. It may not include any flowers at all--just buds, berries, fruits, or seed pods for contrast in color and form, as in the photograph at upper left.

As you clip, shape your plants. Remove weak, crossing, broken, and misplaced branches. Prune back to branches or twigs that point in the direction you'd like to direct new growth. For longest-lasting arrangements, choose mature foliage with waxy or leathery leaves; soft new growth soon wilts. You may have to add fresh sprigs of berries; foliage outlasts them by several weeks.

For a more floral look, the Western landscape sparkle against silvery juniper

For a moref floral look, the Whestern landscape also offers some fine winter bloomers, such as those shown above and at left center on page 193.

With so much material readily available, you can fill oversize containers. Try baskets, jugs, clay pots, and even pitchers or casseroles from the kitchen. To hold water inside porous containers such as baskets or unglazed pottery, set cans or jars upright inside them.

If your garden gleanings aren't satisfactory this year, you can plan now to make them more interesting in the future. Shown above are some reliable choices for winter arrangements. Each has distinctive decorative features: some provide long-lasting greenery; others bear flowers or fruit. Where weather is dry, you can plant any of these now.

For additional regional specialties, explore your neighborhood and check local nurseries. Depending on where you live, you may find blooming aloes, bird of paradise, and jade plants, and buds or seed pods on eucalyptus and jacaranda.

Photo: Unconventional partners: short sprays of bead-like acacia buds and green- to orange-fruited citrus spill from duck pot

Photo: Sheafs of tiny flowers: "Ruby Glow' leptospermum and Erica canaliculata are profuse winter bloomers in mild areas

Photo: Sunny winter days invite the whole family into the garden to clip evergreens--the backbone of Western gardens--for holiday arrangements

Photo: Greens, berries, or flowers make these 13 plants good prospects to glean for this season's bouquets--or to plant for future ones
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1986
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