Monday, November 19th, 2018
There are many things to love about the holiday season, but if you ask us, one of the very best parts is seasonal decorating! It’s probably no surprise that fresh greenery is our favourite way to get into the holiday spirit, and to get you started we’ve put together a few tips on how to decorate your own home with fresh greenery:
Starting early? Choose greenery that lasts.
Pine, fir, and cedar dry slowly and retain needles well in indoor temperatures, making these a great choice if you can’t wait to get festive. Hemlock and spruce are better used for outdoor decorations, such as urns.
Use pruning shears, floral wire, and floral foam to construct the look you’re after.
Use boughs of pine, fir, or cedar for swags above doors, garlands along banisters or mantels, table displays, wreaths… wherever you want to use fresh greenery to warm up a space! Take some time to create the shape you want by trimming with your pruning shears, and use florist wire to secure pieces together for your desired length, shape, and volume. Floral foam can be used to create beautiful container arrangements.
Embellish with add-ons like pinecones, branches, or lights.
Once you have the basic shape of your greenery achieved, add texture, colour, and interest with some additional items. Natural materials like pinecones and branches – especially branches with colour like red dogwood, red willow, birch, or ones with dried berries – or items like lights, ribbons, or bells can add some magic to your arrangement. Are you going for a rustic, country look? Use natural pinecones, rusted bells, and branches. Do you prefer more glitz and glam? Go for glittery ribbon and glass baubles.
Mist or water your greenery to keep it fresh all season long.
Keep your greenery as humid as possible with frequent misting. If your arrangement includes a container filled with floral foam, water the container daily so that your greenery has lots to drink. Avoid placing greenery near floor vents, and if you decorate the fireplace mantle, remember that the heat will dry your arrangement out more quickly. It’s best to place this as close to Christmas as possible.
Find more beautiful holiday greenery inspiration on our Christmas at Shelmerdine Pinterest board right here.
Friday, October 26th, 2018
Get creative, and enjoy the process!
While many people put out seed and fill bird baths in the spring and summer, caring for birds tends to be largely forgotten when the leaves turn and the snow flies – a shame, because at this time of year it is actually more important than ever to look out for the birds. The tough birds that stick around for our cold and snowy months have many ways of coping, like growing extra feathers or huddling together for warmth.
Here are some ways to support and encourage bird activity in your backyard over the fall and winter:
As you can imagine, finding adequate food sources is a lot trickier for birds over winter than during the summer, so keeping your feeders full is a big help. Some birds actually store food for the winter, while others adapt by changing from a diet of insects to one of seeds, nuts, and berries.
In order to attract the widest variety of birds, place several feeders with different types of seed around your yard. A mixture containing a good percentage of sunflower or safflower seeds (or both!) is a good place to start.
Birds need grit – small, hard objects such as small pebbles, eggshells, and coarse sand – in order to digest their food, and in winter, snow tends to cover natural sources of grit, making it harder to find. You can help out by ensuring that the seed mixture you provide includes this, or by adding an extra-fine grit to your seed mix in the winter.
Birds that winter in Manitoba include:
In addition to stocking feeders, you can also help out by planting shrubs and trees that provide berries for birds during their migration in fall, as well as for those who stay throughout the winter.
Trees and shrubs for fall and winter berries:
- mountain ash
Whether natural or artificial, providing areas of shelter and protection will entice birds to turn your yard into their winter home. Including evergreen trees and shrubs in your landscaping will provide great year-round shelter. If your yard allows, leave a dead tree standing to attract woodpeckers and owls over the winter, or pile deadfall together with some brush to provide another place for birds to hide.
Birdhouses can be used over the winter as well. Mount birdhouses on a tree if possible, facing the entry away from the most bitter winds – in Manitoba, it’s best to face the entry toward the south or southwest. Make sure there is a clear flight path to the entry. As part of your fall yard work, clean out old nesting material and plug ventilation holes to insulate the house over winter.
Outdoor water fixtures normally get shut down for the winter, but a dripping water source is still the number one way to attract birds, even during the coldest months. Pick up a birdbath water heater to keep your birdbath free of ice.
Find more tips for fall and winter yard prep on our blog like planting fall bulbs and fall pruning 101, and be sure to check out our printable fall gardening checklist.
Be a friend to birds this winter!