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Gardening and More: Use nature’s offerings in this year’s holiday decorations

MERRY CHRISTMAS — A dried allium makes an unusual star for the top of a Christmas tree. Get more ideas for nature-themed decorations in upcoming classes and workshops at Lockwood’s Greenhouses in Hamburg.
HAMBURG — Let your love of nature and gardening show, as you decorate for the upcoming holidays.

“Make people want to linger,” said Mary Gurtler, designer at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, located at 4484 Clark St. in Hamburg.

She and fellow designer Samantha Platt will offer a class on designing a welcoming entryway at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Lockwood’s. To register, stop into Lockwood’s, call 649-4684 or visit

This is one of a series of classes and hands-on workshops that will help you bring nature into your holiday decorating, this year.

Gurtler shared some ideas that she and Platt used in decorating the store.

Start with items you already have. Many people display bird houses inside their homes all year round. Add some berries, snow or lights to bird houses and they can become holiday decorations.

Gurtler said that she feels lights are an important part of holiday decorating. “It’s all about the lights,” she said. “I don’t care if they’re white or colored or blinking.”

The use of branches can help bring nature into holiday decorating. Attach a curly willow branch to a wall and hang Christmas ornaments from it, or set a branch in a pot of stones and add your favorite bird ornaments.

Bring items from your garden inside and use them in creative ways. For example, a bird bath on a pedestal can hold a Christmas scene.

Many of us have allium in our gardens. These plants remind me of giant Tootsie Pops®, with a very round flower perched atop a straight stem. They bloom in spring, but the dried flower can add interest to the garden, all summer. In the fall, Gurtler brought in the dried bloom, painted it white and set it atop a Christmas tree. Allium flowers also look spectacular, when painted black or gold.

If you do not have any allium in your garden, plant bulbs in the ground, now. You can plant them until the first week of December, or until the ground freezes.

That trellis that stands vertically in your garden during the summer can be brought inside and hung horizontally, from the ceiling. Dangle Christmas ornaments and other decorations from it.

If you have a favorite chair or spot where you like to relax, have a holiday candle nearby and something pretty to look at, from that spot.

“Decorating is as much for you as it is for the people you have over,” Gurtler said.

Learn more during classes and workshops that are scheduled at Lockwood’s. Call the business for more information and for prices.

– On Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m., learn how to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece using real flowers, with the help of professional florist Mary Trifunovic.

–Learn how to design a welcoming entryway at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. Gurtler and Platt will provide nature-inspired ideas for doorways, using wreaths, swags and container arrangements.

– Make a seasonal gift, using fresh and faux materials, during make-a-gift workshops at 11:30 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Dec. 1. Attendees at the earlier workshop will make a candle ring. Noon students will make a door handle basket.

– Decorate your mantel or sideboard with style on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Floral design professional David Clark will demonstrate how to create eye-catching holiday tablescapes.

– A basic wreath workshop will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Lockwood’s Greenhouses gardening expert Sally Cunningham will teach attendees how to make a full, natural greens wreath, with a bow.

– On Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m., design an elegant wreath of mixed greens and berries, with Cunningham.

– Trifunovic will help attendees make a boxwood tree on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. at Lockwood’s Greenhouses. You’ll make a 16-inch tabletop tree designed with boxwood cuttings and miniature decorations.

– On Wednesday, Dec. 12, a mixed greens wreath workshop will be held at 6:30 p.m. Cunningham will lead the workshop.

– Make a kissing ball with Cunningham on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m.

– Create a Christmas centerpiece on Sunday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. Under the guidance of Trifunovic, you will use greens, cones and natural material.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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