Gardener's Grapevine 2013.11.20

This past weekend Art and I went to Frankenmuth, which is always a good time no matter what time of year it is. At the approach of the holidays it is especially enjoyable, and suitable to get anyone in the mood to decorate and do all that stuff that sets the holidays up for a beautiful celebration.

Usually we do this little trip a week or so later, but this year it just happened to be this weekend. One of the reasons we go is for Birch Run outlet mall. It is a true outlet mall and lots of good buys are always available. I was able to knock out a lot of our holiday shopping.

The mall was crazy busy as it was “deer hunter widow’s weekend.” Sort of a Black Friday type of event for the wives of all the deer hunters. Art doesn’t do any hunting and enjoys going, so we trudged through the crowds.

After a crazy day of shopping we went to the Bavarian Inn and had an extremely good meal of German food and fell into a food coma for the night.

We spent Sunday in downtown historic Frankenmuth. There are many shops closed and some new places open. There is a new hotel on the main drag and they were getting everything set up for the holidays. It was interesting to watch the process.

The big flower pots that you see all over the place are not holding live trees. They cut young pine trees and notch the bottoms so they can soak up lots of water and stay fresh as long as possible. These trees are put in those huge pots that are full of dirt, and as it gets colder the soil gets harder and the cold helps keep the tree fresh.

Once the soil is packed into the pot around the tree, it is decorated. The people preparing the trees are sure to have the planters exactly where they belong as they are massive and heavy when finished, and beautiful beyond words.

Everywhere we went there were fresh greens and the smell of evergreen. Who wouldn’t be in the mood for the holidays? I love fresh evergreen. It’s so fragrant and it’s such a clean smell.

I have learned a lot about how all the Christmas greens are made from my mother-in-law, Betty. She worked for Kibler Flowers for many years and that was all part of her job. She told me that when they were slow she would sit and make bows for hours. In the past I have seen her make grave blankets, wreaths, and saddles for the cemetery stones. She is a very talented lady.

I also wanted to mention the town of Blissfield again. Last weekend I noticed that their flower planters downtown are filled with evergreen boughs with metal shepherds hooks in the center holding weather-proof bright colored ornaments. It was so very pretty.

Most of making our homes merry inside or out takes more imagination than money. So many natural things are free and I don’t think anyone would tell you “no” if you asked to pick up their pine cones or if you took evergreen trimmings that were at the curb for pick-up. My holly is huge, and a few pieces would never be missed. Add a little ribbon and a nice wreath or swag costs nothing but my time and energy. Decorating can be fun, but creating some​thing from nothing is where the real fun is.