Holiday in bloom

Tis the season for Poinsettias, holly, pine and more

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A sea of red and white Poinsettias has begun to fill rooms and cover floors in Steamboat Floral and Alpine Floral just days before Hanukkah and weeks before Christmas and New Year's Day.

Although Poinsettias represent a time of year when thoughtful gifts are symbols of affection, floral arrangements during the holidays don't have to remain traditional.

Steamboat Floral owner Joyce Walston walked through rows of holiday plants and zigzagged her way through shelves of knickknacks in her store pointing out various flowers that represent the holidays.

Christmas cacti, narcissus, amaryllis and mixed holiday greens were on her list of favorite holiday arrangements.

"A good thing about being in Steamboat is you have Christmas greens in your backyard," said Gretchen Atwell of Steamboat Floral.

Of the different holiday green wreaths Walston stores in her cooling cellar, cedar, furs, juniper and holly seemed the most popular.

Alpine Floral owner Susanne Bostrom cautioned putting holly outside in Steamboat Springs.

"Holly will freeze outside. It will die," Bostrom said, mentioning that the plant turns black from the freezing temperatures.

However, Walston said if people intend to cut down branches and limbs of natural trees to build wreaths or centerpieces, they need to keep them outside as long as possible to preserve its longevity.

"If you have it indoors the whole year, it's not going to last," Walston said.

Atwell said live pieces of garland usually will last three to four weeks.

"People expect (these garlands) to last forever," Atwell said of those who place garland on a mantle or above a fireplace.

Although Walston said she receives her wreaths already crafted, constructing a wreath should not be too difficult.

Gather a bundle of mixed holiday greens of juniper, holly, princess pine, noble pine and cedar.

Many craft stores sell thick wreath wires in order to attach the garland to form a full wreath.

Bostrom said people could attach dried or fake berries, make velvet tuff ribbons, and add crystallized fruit or beads to a wreath during the holidays.

"Pines have a nice accent and a nice holiday feel," Bostrom said, adding that scented pinecones, seeded or spiral eucalyptus or local Yucca pods were festive additions to a wreath. "Berries are big this year."

"You can make them as festive or as simple as you want," Walston said.

Turner said people in Steamboat are attracted to more natural things, so many times, the more simple and green a wreath is the better.

But the holidays also bring out reds and whites.

Any varied tone of red appears popular during the holiday season for florists.

Bostrom recommended particular flowers for a holiday arrangement: Star of Bethlehem, heather, protea, stargazer lilies and chrysanthemums.

The different levels of red include a dusty pink, mauve, burgundy and an orange/red mix.

If people are looking for a holiday floral arrangement that represents Hanukkah, Cindy Turner of Steamboat Floral says a lot of blues and silvers seem to invade vases and wreaths.

Walston said it helps when people have a particular flower in mind but many times people return to tradition Poinsettias or holiday greens for a centerpiece.

Bostrom says she tries to order enough Poinsettias to avoid overstocking her store and soon enough people will begin traipsing in to buy four, five or six at one time.

"Nobody only wants one," Bostrom said of the Poinsettias available throughout December.

With only one day until the first day of Hanukkah and 16 days until Christmas, Bostrom said many people would begin to invest a little more money into garlands, centerpieces and wreaths.

"Flowers get fancier because things become a little more special," Bostrom said. "Just be creative in your own way. Create your own personality" in your arrangement.


To reach Kelly Silva call 871-4204

or e-mail ksilva@steamboatpilot.com

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