Thursday, January 5, 2017

Parenting Pointers: 4 Ways to Bring Nature in this Winter

By Lea Schneider

As holiday decorations come down, it can begin to feel as if the bare insides of our homes are matching the barren cold landscape.  It’s definitely the season for something chipper. Bringing some nature from the outside in can be just the trick to brighten moods and give a boost to home decor.

Although there aren’t any flowers to pick in your garden this time of year, don’t despair. There are still a number of ways to get the garden into your home. Baskets, bowls and vases of nature’s bounty are so simple to put together. Plus, the scent and sight of flowers in the middle of winter brings pure happiness to your home.

Supermarket Sunshine

On your next swing through the grocery store, snap up a bouquet of blooms. Don’t be intimidated if you have to arrange them yourself. With these tips, it is super easy.

Fill your vase halfway with water.
Unwrap your bundle of flowers and lay them out separately on your kitchen counter. This way you can see what is there.
Hold a flower stem next to your vase to see how much of the stem to cut off. Trim the extra amount of stem off with a pair of scissors or clippers. You want to make sure to leave enough stem that the flowers stick out of the vase and show.
The trick to making flowers last (and not get stinky water) is to remove all of the leaves that will be below the water and rot. Pick off any lower leaves or snip them with scissors.
Place your trimmed flower in the vase. Repeat with the other blooms. Alternate your flowers so the various kinds are mixed in the vase.
Replace the old water with fresh water every few days.

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Create an English Garden Basket

The really nice thing about an English garden basket is there is no potting soil or digging involved. The garden is created using potted plants. You might want to take your basket to the market with you to pick plants. Since they commonly are grown in smaller and larger pots, you’ll be able to set some in your basket to see how many pots you need.

Use a basket of any size. Cut plastic to fit the inside of the basket—a piece of trash bag will do. This will help keep water from dripping out of the basket and on to your table.
Select several pots to fill your basket. You can use a mixture of flowering plants and green plants, such as ivy. Use all of the same variety of flower or mix several kinds.
Hide the plastic edge of the pots by tucking a bit of green or grey moss around the edge of the basket. You’ll find bags of moss for sale at garden centers, florists and hobby shops.
Give your garden a winter look by tucking in a few bare twigs from your yard and a pinecone or two.
When you water the plants, make sure to water each individual pot. Tip your basket carefully over the sink after watering and allow the extra water to pour out.
Pick off any spent blooms or dead leaves.

A Bountiful Arrangement

Filling a bowl with a variety of natural items, like pinecones and apples, makes a lovely decoration for your coffee table, kitchen island or dining table.

Pick up red and/or green apples at the grocery. You can also use pears, whole nuts and cranberries.
From outdoors, gather different sized pinecones and acorns.
Arrange the larger items in the bowl first—apples, pears or pinecones. Use smaller items, such as berries, acorns or whole nuts to fill in the gaps and accent the fruit.
It’s easy to add a light to a bowl arrangement. Place a fat candle in the center of your bowl and arrange the fruits and nuts around it.
The added benefit to this arrangement is no waste, as you can eat the fruit and nuts later.

Branch Out

Bare branches are beautiful and artistic on their own. Bringing branches from the shrubs or tress in your yard into your warm home might have the benefit of some blooms. But, even if the ones you snip don’t bloom, you’ll get a fun, fresh look for your mantle or table.

Use pruners to snip some branches—24 inches or longer is a good starting point.
Fill your vase halfway with water.
Stand the branches next to your vase and trim as needed. It’s okay for the branches to be on the tall side, but you don’t want them so tall and heavy they tip the vase over.
Some branches that might open indoors include pussy willow, quince, forsythia and trees that bloom early in the spring.
Replace the water with fresh water once or twice per week.

Bringing in some nature is an easy solution for brightening the darkest of winter days—and ever so easy to do yourself.

As a professional organizer and writer, Lea Schneider  provides tips on adding some natural elements to your home. To see other ideas on sprucing up your home decor, visit The Home Depot.

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