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From the Gonzales Garden Club – A Crafty Holiday Decoration

With the desire to create floral designs using plants from their home gardens, the Gonzales Garden Club found a guest speaker who creates holiday decorations from her backyard greenery. On November 3, LSU AgCenter Consumer Horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballard demonstrated the creation of a door swag using evergreen cuttings from her home garden. She brought twigs of pine, holly, cedar, evergreen wisteria, and magnolia. Club members named similar useful shrubs and trees in their own gardens such as cypress, Chinese blueberry, rosemary, sweet olive, oak leaf holly, savannah holly, and Japanese yew.

With the desire to create floral designs using plants from their home gardens, the Gonzales Garden Club found a guest speaker who creates holiday decorations from her backyard greenery. On November 3, LSU AgCenter Consumer Horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballard demonstrated the creation of a door swag using evergreen cuttings from her home garden. She brought twigs of pine, holly, cedar, evergreen wisteria, and magnolia. Club members named similar useful shrubs and trees in their own gardens such as cypress, Chinese blueberry, rosemary, sweet olive, oak leaf holly, savannah holly, and Japanese yew.

Presiding over the meeting, Past President Janis Poche furthered the discussion of creating evergreen arrangements. She advised participants to hose the swag down on the driveway each week and rehang it on the door to keep the foliage moist. She also suggested using artificial holly berries to embellish an evergreen arrangement once the real berries shrivel and fall off while the conifer needles are still supple. Janis imagined the same design method being used to fashion a low-profile table centerpiece on a platter or a long mantle decoration of cascading foliage for Christmas. Broadleaf evergreens like live oak and camellias could also be incorporated into holiday decorations at no expense.

Heather Kirk-Ballard learned to make the door swag from Dr. James Delprince of Mississippi State University extension service and distributed his handout of instructions. His publication (number P3247 on the Mississippi State extension site) “Creating an Evergreen Swag” can be found by searching the internet at https://extension.mssta te. edu/sites/default/files/ publications/publications/ P3247_web.pdf .

In appreciation for the presentation, hostesses Marilyn Rice, Rita Bourque, Ellen Posey, Cynthia Cagnolatti and Elizabeth Saffell gifted the guest speaker with homemade oatmeal cookies and pumpkin bread in a basket, a variety of nuts including chocolate covered almonds, a large tin of Italian cookies, a Starbucks gift certificate with two mugs, a plant repotting mat and a glazed vase made by Marilyn’s sister.

In closing the meeting, New Member Kaye Couvillion was welcomed into the club with an embroidered tote bag by Ellen Posey. Kaye also received a club name tag pin from Cynthia Cagnolatti and a Handbook for Flower Shows from Barbara Guillot. November’s horticulture hint is to plant winter flowers like violas and pansies for color in the garden. Eager plans were made to return to a traditional garden club Christmas party at a member’s home next month.

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