Gardener's Grapevine 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.

This past weekend Art and I took a trip to Frankenmuth, Mich., to finish our Christmas shopping. This town obviously knows how to decorate for Christmas—they deck the halls and then some! We enjoyed the decorations both inside and outside.

There is a welcome center and museum in the center of the town and there are evergreen topiaries cut like animals in front. The penguin was adorable and he wasn’t even decked out in Christmas finery at all.

I always look at anything made with natural items. Nature and what can be done with it amazes me. In front of the museum was a planter full of hydrangeas. When a hydrangea goes dormant it loses its leaves but not its blooms. The blooms will fade, but as a general rule they stay on the stems. They are not very pretty in winter and a whole row of them is ugly, I’m sure. These hydrangea blooms were faded a dark burgundy and still looked very pretty. 

What I thought was neat was whoever decorated the building put evergreen in the planter amongst the hydrangea and used just the blooms to accent it. It was very nice and natural. I think it would have been even prettier if they had planted holly bushes with the hydrangea. Both plants are acid lovers, so they would work well together in the soil. Shaggy evergreen was what was used and that would contrast great with holly.

The hotel we stayed in was beautifully decorated also, and they had some nice elegant outside decorations in their summer planters. They used long branches of shaggy evergreen in the pots and let them drape over the sides in various lengths. In the center were two different types of evergreen that had tighter needles and wild thistles had been sprayed red and inserted among the evergreen. They pulled it all together with two different, four inch wide ribbons of gold and red layered and twisted and entwined in the evergreen. I thought this effect would be gorgeous in front of our library with its wide entryway. The hotel’s pots were huge—at least three feet tall and two feet wide or more—and it really made a stunning entry.

I promised Laurie Schisler I’d go to Bronner’s Christmas store. I am not a huge fan of commercialized Christmas, so is not always a stop we plan on making. They have beautiful things to look at and purchase if you want to fight the half million people who are there. I must say I’ve never seen so many different and beautiful nativity scenes. The outside of Bronner’s is so decorated and lighted I think it can be seen from outer space.

As we go into our blessed holiday and set our dining room tables for dinner, think of making your own centerpiece. If you have evergreen, holly, pine cones, dead grasses, you have what you need. Pick a nice container such as a special bowl or platter with a piece of floral foam wetted. Add the yard findings and maybe a candle, candlestick, an ornament or a special figurine to work in. This can make a stunning centerpiece and costs nothing. The glory of using things from the yard is you can use as little or as much as you desire; cost isn’t a factor.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
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    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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