The Cultivation, Issue 25
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
December 10, 2020
Inspired Ideas for Tending Your Home and Garden
I can hardly believe it’s the second week of December. Despite the adjustments we are making to our usual gatherings, we’re still shopping, cooking, decorating, and prepping for the holidays. Outdoors, the energy is just as high. The squirrels are hustling to gather and store their winter provisions—I’ve found and reburied several pecans as I’ve planted our bulbs—while the birds are filling up on seed from our feeder. The goldfinches are especially easy to spot amidst the usual suspects.
Fresh off our first Christmas tree purchase as a family of three, I’m focusing this month’s issue on the lore and history behind our evergreen holiday trimmings and recommending simple ways to incorporate different plants into your usual mix. No matter how you’re celebrating this year, I hope you’ll feel inspired to try something new or find deeper meaning and symbolism as we charge toward a new year.
Finally, if you’re still searching for the perfect gift for that impossible-to-shop-for family member or friend, hang on tight! I’ll be releasing my holiday gift guide next Monday on Instagram. From treasured staples to new must haves, my list of favorites will help you fill in those last gaps on your shopping list. Follow me at @staghorn_living to see my top picks.
It’s been a year that none of us will forget and I thank you so very much for spending time with Staghorn, The Cultivation, and me through it all. I am working on a new website for early 2021 that I can’t wait to share with you. Until then, I wish you all a joyous and healthy holiday season and a Happy New Year!
Seasonal Color For the Home
A Classic Wreath
Whether your taste leans contemporary or traditional, a boxwood wreath is the perfect way to decorate a front door or entryway. Easily purchased at your local garden center, or online at Terrain, you can keep this lush bit of evergreen simple as it is, or take it up a notch with a festive ribbon bow or fairy lights.
Forced bulbs offer gorgeous, long-lasting flowers with little-to-no maintenance and no need for special light conditions. Many of them smell fantastic, too. Fragrant paperwhites or vibrant amaryllis make great gifts for everyone, including yourself. Most are sold with their own small container and accoutrements, but a simple vase, a handful of pebbles, and some water are all that’s needed. You can find these kits everywhere from your hardware store to the grocery store, or purchase them online here through Williams Sonoma.
A Unique Evergreen
For a bit of decor that lasts well beyond the holidays, try a Norfolk Island pine. These little evergreens love bright, indirect-to-medium light and water every one to two weeks. We love this tabletop version, which arrives potted up and ready to enjoy from The Sill.
Plant Lore: Holiday Evergreens
Long before Christmas trees and Santa Claus became the dominant symbols of the season, civilizations around the world used evergreens to adorn their homes each December for both rituals and protection. There is evidence from ancient Egypt to Rome that this type of tradition has been popular for ages.
What we know about western Christmas traditions can be traced back to 8th Century Scandinavia, when the Vikings would burn the yule log and mount evergreen wreaths to ward off the evil spirits that they believed were intent on roaming about upon the winter solstice. In some cases, an entire tree was brought inside to feed the fire for as many days as possible. Centuries later, when the Germans set out to convert the Vikings to Christianity, they adopted the tradition of bringing a tree indoors near the winter solstice. Many historians believe the Germans were inspired by the time of year, as it synced up with their celebration of the birth of Jesus, and the evergreen nature of the tree paired well with the idea of everlasting life.
Ancient Celtics, Druids, and Pagans held similar rituals using evergreen branches from pines, firs, spruces, hollies, and mistletoe to decorate their homes and temples as protection from evil spirits and reminders of the warmer, greener days of summer.
Given how 2020 has gone, I think I’ll try to view our holiday decor through this lens as well. Here's to evergreen decor making way for a greener 2021.
We hope you enjoyed issue 25 of The Cultivation. If there is a gardening or plant question you'd like us to answer, let us know by emailing us here. Want to catch up on previous issues? Click here to read through all of our prior editions. And remember to follow us on Instagram @staghorn_living!