There are so many things to love about the holiday season, but if you ask us, nothing beats greening up the home with fresh cedar, pine, and fir! As soon as our fresh greens arrive, we fill our arms full of bunches, bring them home and whip out the pruners. In just an hour or so, you can fill vases, planters, even old teapots with fragrant greenery in every corner of the house. Whether this is new to you or you just need a refresher course, follow along with our basic guide to holiday greening.

Grab a glass of holiday cheer, and enjoy!

1. Nothing but the freshest greenery will do!

Only choose the freshest greenery you can find. Garden centres (like us!) expertly store and keep our greens at optimal humidity and temperature levels, whereas big box and grocery stores, well, not so much! Needles should be vibrant green and pliable, so avoid any greenery that is yellowing, browning, or crispy to the touch. Plan to use your greenery the same day that you buy it. In the case that you need to store it temporarily, keep it in a cold garage.

Shelmerdine Christmas Greens

2. Decide on your vessels.

Any watertight container will work. From vases to plant pots, teacups to tupperware – anything that holds water will do the job. And size doesn’t matter either! You might opt for smaller vessels for nightstands, bathrooms and offices, and larger vessels for dining and coffee tables. Think through where you will place each vessel in your home, and then line them all up on your work surface.

3. Assemble your supplies.

To get started, you’ll need: pruners or strong pruning snips, blocks of floral foam (often referred to as Oasis), a mixture of fresh greenery boughs, and any additional decorative items such as pinecones, bows, and baubles. And of course, your vessels!

4. Soak and fill.

Fill up your sink with cool water and completely submerge and soak the floral wire for about 10 minutes. Here’s a little pro tip! Take a toothpick and poke into the middle of the foam a few times – it will help water soak through to the center quickly. Once soaked, fill the vessels with the foam. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can cut the foam with a knife to get the shape right. If you end up with little scrap corners of foam, use those up too.

Shelmerdine Holiday Greening

4. Start chopping!

Using your pruners, cut your boughs into various sizes of pieces. They can range from 4″ to 8″ depending on the size of the vessels you’re using. Having a variety of sizes will give you more options in terms of shaping the arrangement. Making your cuts on a diagonal 45% angle will make them easier to insert into the foam, as opposed to a blunt 90% angle.

5. Let the greening begin!

At last, the fun part! Begin by pushing a spring of greenery into the middle of the vessel. As a rule of thumb, this center sprig should be x 1 to x 1.5 compared to the height of the vessel. Working from this center piece outward, push more and more greenery springs into the foam, working with taller pieces towards the center and shorter pieces towards the edges. Here’s the trick – don’t think too hard! Just keep adding and filling! As an end result, you shouldn’t see any floral foam at all. Use any and all sprigs that you have, and as many varieties as you can, just make sure they are in contact with the wet foam. If, at the end, a few pieces look askew, pull them out and reposition them, or use your pruners to snip them to size.


6. Embellish with pinecones, ribbon, decorative picks – play!

Now that you’ve greened up your vessel, add some holiday flare with whatever items you have! Some of our favorites are picked pine cones, baubles, ribbon, and little twigs from the garden. Some choose to leave their greenery arrangements ‘naked’ and this is just as beautiful!

Shelmerdine Greenery Arrangement

7. Top up the water. 

Dip your finger into the corner of the container. If you feel fluid water, you’re fine, but if water doesn’t pour out of the container, fill it up as much as you can. Greenery arrangements are thristy, and daily watering should be expected. Avoid placing your arrangements near floor vents and fireplaces altogether. As a general rule, fresh greenery arrangements last about 2 weeks indoors. Therefore, if you plan to create a centrepiece for your Christmas dinner, time that project as close to Christmas as possible.

We hope that our basic guide to holiday greening is helpful and that greening will become part of your holiday tradition. Don’t forget – fresh greenery arrangements are wonderful and economical gifts for your loved ones too! For even more inspiration, visit our Shelmerdine Pinterest board right here, or better yet, visit us!

Happy Holidays!

xo Team Shelmerdine