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.rest
    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.
  • Front.batter
    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.
  • Front.green Screen
    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.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • 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.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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