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Mantel spray with no hint of its underpinnings.

To decorate your door or mantel, you can make an attractive Christmas spray by mounting dry or fresh flowers and greens on an ordinary coat hanger.

You can find many useful materials in your garden. Some of the most durable are boxwood, English laurel, ivy, magnolia, pines and other conifers, and viburnum. These plants last a week or more without water, so use them as the backbone of your arrangement. Where winters are mild, you can also use rugged ferns such as holly fern, leatherleaf fern, and sword fern. Carefully take cuttings from trees or shrubs, shaping them as you go. Always cut back to a side branch or to the trunk.

For handsome backdrops in dried arrangements, eucalyptus foliage is tough to beat. Equally attractive are its seed pods and flower buds, which often look best stripped of leaves. Other choices include cones of aiders, pines, and other conifers, and seed heads of grasses and weeds.

To construct the hanger, follow the steps shown at right. First arrange the background greenery in a triangle or semicircular shape. In the center add contrasting or variegated greenery, cones, or berries; secure in place with yarn. Once you have a sturdy framework, you can poke in flowers and other sprigs as finishing touches without stitching.
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Date:Dec 1, 1988
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