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Ornaments from your garden...succulents and berries.

Picked from your garden, plump succulents and berries make handsome, nearly instant Christmas tree ornaments when tied together or combined with other greens. The succulents' crisp shapes and winter-cool colors--from silvery gray to apple green--contrast nicely with spiky, deep green conifer foliage. Berries can add a bright accent.

Because succulents store water in their leaves or stems, cuttings can stay fresh for weeks. Snip small offsets or tips, remove lower leaves to expose the bottom inch of stem, and tie them together in clusters of three or so with a 5-inch length of thin wire. Wrap the wire three times around stems, then twist ends together; use excess to secure cuttings to tree branches. Finish with white or silver ribbon.

Choose naturally compact ground cover or rosette-forming types, such as small crassulas, echeverias, sedums, and sempervivums. These tiny kinds shouldn't cause tree branches to sag.

For best effect, combine cuttings of different colors or textures--a single small, gray-green rosette of hen and chicks (Echeveria imbricata) with two cuttings of red-tinged pork and beans (Sedum rubrotinctum), for example. Pyrancantha or toyon berries or orange-pink rose hips also combine well with small rosettes of hen and chicks. They won't last as long, hough; they begin to dry and shrivel in a week or so, but will keep their color slightly longer in a cool place.

After the holidays, you can root the cuttings in sand or porous soil.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Dec 1, 1985
Previous Article:Living with holly...the other 11 months of the year.
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