Design Hints

Going Green

When you live near one of Maineís iconic forests, fresh-cut greenery is a prerequisite for seasonal decorating. Artificial branches canít truly replicate the natural beauty of emerald green balsam fir, richly textured cedar and heavenly white pine. Daniel Higgins and his partner, Sean Weber, adorn every room in their Orrington, Maine, home with a live Christmas tree, wreaths, sprays, and garlands made with fresh greens, berries and pinecones, a technique exemplified in their living room. To keep real greenery looking its best for the entire season, Daniel recommends these simple steps, starting in late October:

Design Hints

1. Use heavy-duty garden shears to cut branches on an angle.
2. Bring the branches to a cool, dry room out of direct sunlight.
3. Gather several 5-gallon plastic buckets. Fill each bucket with one part glycerin and two parts warm tap water. You can buy glycerin at a pharmacy, crafts store or florist. Daniel recommends Fleet brand.
4. Carefully cut a 4-inch slit perpendicular to the bottom of every branch with a utility knife. This allows branches to better absorb the glycerin mixture.
5. Place the branches in the buckets with the cuts submerged for about four weeks. Replace any water that evaporates during that time.
6. After you decorate your home with the preserved greenery, use a spray bottle to gently spritz the branches with water every few days.

Written by Cheryl Hackett
Photographed by Gridley + Graves