Category Archives: Holiday

First, the Christmas Trees Arrive…

Sugar Pine Cones

Sugar Pinecones…

SignI know the holiday season is here when the greenery bunches, garlands and wreaths we’ve ordered begin to appear – not to mention fragrant Fraser fir Christmas trees. I was looking forward to two of the boxes in particular  this year – the ones the huge sugar pine cones were packed in, just 30 to a box because they’re so big.

Sugar PineCone

Ribbon and Greenery added to a Sugar Pinecone…

Take a look in any craft magazine or on Pinterest and you’ll find plenty of decorating being done with these Northwest beauties!  There hasn’t been much time for us to play with these big pinecones, but I was able to add a bit of ribbon and some greenery to a couple before it got too busy.  A beautiful collection of these impressive cones in a large basket,  with a bit of reindeer moss tucked between and curls of ribbon for more color, would be festive too.

There’s a definite progression of the holiday season that I’ve noticed over the many years in this business, and, for no other reason than I’ve observed this phenomenon, here it is:

Alabama Cryptomeria Wreaths…

First the Christmas trees, outdoor garlands, and wreaths arrive, bringing the scent of the Carolina mountains to Birmingham. The trees are the stars of the show for a couple of weeks,  and the buzz of tree drills and saws fill the air.Holiday Greenery - Dyrons

Families arrive to find their perfect tree among the 700 that are  drilled for our tree stands and given a fresh cut before they’re moved out for sale. Bows for wreaths and other outdoor decorations are debated and chosen, and mailbox decorations are ordered.

Slowly but surely the outdoor decisions are made, trees are delivered, and festive decorations for inside and outdoors are complete.  Now the emphasis shifts to the  greenhouse, a magical place during Christmas, full of pretty flowering plants and more, and we begin the party season. Containers fill the back design area, waiting to be transformed into beautiful arrangements ready on just the right date. Finally, closest to Christmas, teacher’s gifts and gifts for family are arranged, to be picked up just before the end of school or prior to leaving town.

Orchids, Ferns, Ivy, Hydrangeas in Pretty Pots

Finished Arrangements…

The Grinch in the Tree

Our Grinch…

In fact, this year we had to make more room for finished pieces in front of the design area. Our new area has worked out well, since now it’s easier for everyone to see many of the finished centerpieces, pots, and special orders, and it gives people ideas for their own gifts or containers.

There’s another new addition this year too. Tacca, our garden shop cat, is experiencing her first holiday season and is she enjoying it! She’s taken to sitting in our Christmas display, right in the line of sight of all the children, who come in to pet her while they look at Santa and his elves. This year Molly created our wonderful grinch too.

Hydrangeas & Amaryllis...Gifts

More Arrangements…

While Fraser fir scents fill  the outside nursery, the greenhouse is truly a feast for the senses too,  filled with colorful flowers and lights.

 

 

 

Here you’ll  find orchids, amaryllis, jasmine, stephonotis, hydrangeas, rieger begonias and more, including the usual poinsettias.  There’s really nothing like a true greenhouse, devoted almost entirely to plants of the season.  Box stores with their fluorescent lights and a few holiday plants simply can’t compare. I hope you’ll come visit and see why.

 

 

 

 

Succulent Wreaths For The Holidays

Succulent wreaths might not be what one thinks of first as a component of holiday decorating, but these pretty echeveria wreaths just might change your mind. The best thing about these wreaths is that there is room for the little echeverias to grow, and this also makes them easier to take care of through the winter months.

Echeveria WreathsThe wreaths are just about 10″ in diameter and can just as easily be laid flat on a table and made part of a holiday tablescape as hung. Though they’re beautiful just as they are, adding other elements is easy to do. The one shown here was “dressed up” with small loops of a pretty, sheer ribbon, tiny pine cones, and small tufts of real cotton.

The echeverias in these wreaths have been planted in a sphagnum moss wreath form and will continue to grow with the proper care. Give them as much direct light as possible, and, when the wreaths feel very light when lifted, it’s time to water. Place them in a shallow pan filled with a few inches of water and leave them in it for at least 30 minutes or until the form feels heavy, indicating it’s saturated.  Do not water again until it feels very light once more. Remember, succulents prefer to be on the dry side.

Loops of ribbon and tiny pinecones embellish this echeveria wreath...

Loops of ribbon and tiny pinecones embellish this echeveria wreath…

These sweet wreaths are in limited supply, so, if you’re interested in trying one, now is the time to stop in and take a look. On their own or “dressed up”, what a lovely, unexpected,  and long lasting addition to your holiday decor!

Decorate Your Mailbox & Door For Christmas – Here Are A Few Tips!

Christmas - Door SwagI have to confess, where I grew up, mailboxes were at the houses, either as a mail slot in the door or physically attached to the outside of the home, and only folks in the country had mailboxes on a post at the street. Now this was actually a very good thing since it saved having to walk outside each day to get the mail,  especially on extra cold or very snowy days.  Of course, there was always a wreath, and garland with bows,  and evergreen bunches in frozen pots.

But, since moving to Birmingham, I’ve grown to enjoy having a more southern twist to decorating, using a swag on the front door with all sorts of beautiful greens and berries,  putting up garland with bows on the porch rail, and, yes, decorating the mailbox. In fact, that’s one of the things I enjoy most.

My mailbox decoration...

My mailbox decoration…

one oasis cage...

one oasis cage…

If you’d like to try your hand with your own mailbox decoration or door swag, using oasis in a cage will make the project easy, and, of course, the oasis will keep the cut material you use as fresh as it can be. Scout out your yard. Are there shrubs with berries that you can use? If you buy a real Christmas tree, save any branches that are trimmed off the bottom – they are wonderful as the starting point of a pretty decoration. I like to use magnolia, boxwood, juniper, chamaecyparis , pine, cedar, and a shrub often used in the shade, leucothoe, which is particularly long lasting when cut.Christmas - Closeup Kris' Mailbox Decoration

If  your options are limited in  your own yard, we also have bunches of greenery available through the season for you to decorate with.  From berries to greens and pinecones too, there will be enough here for you to play with! I warn you though, once you start putting your decoration together, it will be hard to stop!

Begin by soaking your oasis piece(s)  for at least an hour so the foam absorbs all the water. It will feel heavy. If you’re working on your mailbox, take a look at it.  Would you like to see your decoration attached to the post? Or perhaps you’d like to put it on top. For either of these two options, simply take florist wire through the oasis cage and around the mailbox or post. If you have a mailbox with the nameplate across the top, it’s quite easy to wire two oasis forms together, creating a “saddle” to hang on the mailbox.

Now you’re ready to begin inserting your greenery and having some fun!  Whether I’m  doing a door swag or a mailbox decoration, I like to have all my different greens, berries and pinecones laid out so I can see all my options. If there was one thing I could tell you at this point, it’s to not be afraid. If you cut a stem and it’s too long, don’t sweat it, just recut it shorter. By the same token, if you feel the stem you’ve cut is too short, set it aside; it will probably work just right in a different spot. Remember, this should be a fun project, not a test! Try to cut stems that aren’t too “fat” since those larger than an inch in diameter tend to take up a lot of room in the oasis and can tear it up, especially if you aren’t happy with your placement and pull it out to reposition it too many times. Smaller stems are better.

Mailbox decorations on display at Oak Street Garden Shop...

Mailbox decorations on display at Oak Street Garden Shop…

This isn’t going to be a do it by pictures post. I think that limits your creativity. So, I’m not going to tell you what exactly goes with what. If you like it, that’s what counts! You might choose to do your entire mailbox with magnolia because you have a big magnolia in your yard, or you may just want a small boxwood piece with ribbon. To emphasize, again – there is no wrong way to do this. Simply gather the greenery you like, and go from there. I think some of you who are unsure will be happily surprised at your creations. Have fun!

If do-it-yourself isn’t for you, we make mailbox decorations and more throughout the season.  Give us a call or stop in to place an order!

 

 

 

 

Amaryllis – Beauty In A Bulb

Amaryllis, unquestionably, are one of the most dramatic and elegant of flowers. That bold, beautiful blooms of all colors and sizes can emerge from such a drab, unassuming brown bulb is amazing. They are truly a wonder of nature!

Decorative moss and pebbles dress up this amaryllis bulb...

Decorative moss and pebbles dress up this amaryllis bulb…

Amaryllis in the greenhouse...

Amaryllis in the greenhouse…

Our final shipment of amaryllis bulbs arrived the other day and now is the perfect time to pot them up for the holidays. It’s so easy to do too.  My  friend, Nancy Wallace of Wallace Gardens  in Atlanta,  swears by soaking the bulb in Haven Brand Manure Tea, an odorless tea that we have in stock now, for an even better display.

In a shallow saucer filled with about an inch of this concentrated tea, soak the roots of the bulbs for no more than 20 minutes, then plant. From her picture I featured in the above link, she’s on the right track. I’ll be soaking mine this year!

Amaryllis arrangement...

Amaryllis arrangement…

So, you want to purchase an amaryllis bulb (or more than one) for yourself or as gifts for friends? First, you need to know that the size of the bulb corresponds to the size and amount of blooms. Their sizes range from “miniature” amaryllis bulbs to jumbo amaryllis and there are midsize bulbs as well.

Large blooms of this amaryllis offer a contrast to the fragrant jasmine...

Large blooms of this amaryllis offer a contrast to the fragrant jasmine…

Beware of gift boxes and bags already prepackaged. I’ve stopped carrying them because, inevitably, the bulb begins to grow in the box prior to purchase. Believe me, there’s nothing sadder than an amaryllis, stem bent toward the light, growing sideways out of a box. It’s just not right!

Potting them up is quite simple. First, soak your amaryllis bulb as described above so the roots rehydrate. Next, find a pot that is no more than an inch or so wider than the bulb and fill it with good quality potting soil (We use Fafard.) about half way up the pot. Next, position the bulb on the soil, pushing the roots firmly in place. The “shoulder”, or widest portion of the bulb, should be above the soil. Fill in around the bulb, push down gently, and water with some of the remaining manure tea.

Amaryllis Arrangement

The hardest part is the wait for the bud to begin to emerge. It may take just a few days in a warm, sunny room, but it can just as easily take longer. Amaryllis don’t always cooperate with our timetables. Take a look at this “Holiday Flowers” post from last year and you’ll see what I mean. When you do see new growth starting to emerge, begin to water just so the soil stays slightly moist and watch the magic happen! You can also “dress up” the top of the soil with decorative moss or pebbles. Amaryllis

In bloom amaryllis can get quite tall  and will usually benefit from some type of staking. In addition to simple bamboo stakes,  stems of red and yellow twig dogwood, birch, curly willow, or branches from your landscape can be used. Insert the staking material at the edge of the bulb and tie it with raffia or ribbon.

Amaryllis, budded, with ferns, and stems of pussywillow...

Amaryllis, budded, with ferns, and stems of pussywillow…

The pictures here show what we’ve done in the past using amaryllis. They make wonderful presents during the holiday season and simply watching the bloom stalk grow taller and the enormous buds begin to open is a gift in itself!

In addition to bulbs that are available for you to plant, we also will be receiving many amaryllis already potted up from our growers. So, if you’re in the Birmingham area, there’s  no excuse not to have one of these holiday favorites!

 

 

 

New Fall Shipments Have Arrived – Pretty Pots For The Holidays or Any Time

We see endless possibilities for these pretty pots...

We see endless possibilities for these pretty pots…

Small urns…

Pots - fall 2014

Pretty pots and cachepots...

Mercury glass and cachepots…

How beautiful would these be as part of a holiday centerpiece?

How beautiful would these be as part of a holiday centerpiece?

Perfect for the holidays...

Perfect for the holidays…

October is a favorite month of ours for many reasons. The garden is changing over from summer flowers to the pretty pansies and more that will shine next spring, and all of the beautiful gourds and pumpkins make their appearance.  In the greenhouse, we know it’s October because we begin to get boxes upon boxes of fall and holiday inventory that Jamie found at market. She, Molly, Pinkie and Angie have been busy unpacking, pricing, moving, and displaying all the pretty new items – perfect to put holiday flowers in for arrangements and holiday center pieces. Let’s take a look…

The shelves are full!

The shelves are full!

 

 

Just the right size…

Pots - Fall 2014

Green and white always appeals...

Green and white always appeals…

Arrangement Inspiration – Spring 2014

Jamie created this Mother's Day gift using herbs and annuals...

Jamie created this Mother’s Day gift using herbs and annuals…

There isn’t much time in the spring for writing and work on the computer in the nursery business, and the pictures in this post and the ones to follow will  give you a glimpse why and are a fraction of what we’ve been working on recently.

This year especially, with Easter falling late and the Mother’s Day holiday arriving a little over two weeks later, the demand for help planting spring planters and beds and then gifts to give for Mother’s Day really kept us hopping!

Pinkie created this piece in a customer's container for a party using bedding plants and asparagus fern...

Pinkie created this piece in a customer’s container for a party using bedding plants and asparagus fern…

 

 

 

 

The past two months have flown by, and Mother’s Day is now past. Now the final push to finish spring planting is on, and the long, slow slide to summer begins.

Two corkwood pieces I fashioned into a planter - Bantel's Sensation sanseveria, calathea, trailing pepperomia and selaginella...

Two corkwood pieces I fashioned into a planter – Bantel’s Sensation sanseveria, calathea, trailing pepperomia and selaginella…

 

 

 

Here, then, is a sampling  of arrangements that we’ve created in the rush of early spring. Some are orchid arrangements in customers’ containers (and some in ours); others are arrangements in corkwood. Still more are short term plantings for parties, using bedding plants and herbs that can be planted in containers and in the garden outside after the festivities.  Enjoy.

This arrangement was for the wedding of a gardener. Variegated iris, ligularia, rosemary and nicotiana share space with the double spike orchid...

This arrangement was for the wedding of a gardener. Variegated iris, ligularia, rosemary and nicotiana share space with the double spike orchid…

This basket was a thank you gift - the hydrangeas can be planted in the garden after they've bloomed...

This basket was a thank you gift – the hydrangeas can be planted in the garden after they’ve bloomed…

A small corkwood planter for shade that will eventually get quite large...new guinea impatiens, torenia, creeping jenny and irish moss to trail,  a brake fern and  a bit of ajuga...

A small corkwood planter for shade that will eventually get quite large…new guinea impatiens, torenia, creeping jenny and irish moss to trail, a brake fern and a bit of ajuga…

Redtwig dogwood branches add to the vibrancy of this lively arrangement...

Redtwig dogwood branches add to the vibrancy of this lively arrangement…

Bedding plants and herbs in bright colors brightened tables for a party...

Bedding plants and herbs in bright colors
brightened tables for a party…

The silvery air plant leaves work well with this container.  Calathea leaves add even more interest...

The silvery air plant leaves work well with this container.
Calathea leaves add even more interest…

Christmas Trees, Wreaths, And Greens – Fragrant And Beautiful!

 

 

 

The trees have arrived!

The trees have arrived!

The day before Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season at Oak Street Garden Shop. Early in the morning the first of two flatbed semis arrive, bearing Fraser fir Christmas trees of all sizes, from the smallest tabletop trees for youngsters (and those young at heart!) to towering beauties for the grandest foyer.

Christmas trees fill the nursery....

Christmas trees fill the nursery….

wreath from the west coast...

wreath from the west coast…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These trees (and the Fraser fir wreaths and garland that arrive from another favored supplier) come from the high elevations of the North Carolina mountains and make their way here to grace your homes through the holidays. Other greens – mixed wreaths, berries and branches – come from Oregon, beautiful mixtures of evergreens not found in the South.

 

'Red Star' chamaecyparis southern wreath...

‘Red Star’ chamaecyparis southern wreath…

 

classic magnolia...

classic magnolia…

 

Still more come from right here in Alabama – our own homegrown evergreens – chamaecyparis, cedar and magnolia. Truly there is an amazing abundance for your decorating needs!

mailbox decorations, displayed at the front of the shop...

mailbox decorations, displayed at the front of the shop…

southern greens...

southern greens…

Mailbox decorations are made to order, each one designed with two pieces of caged oasis so the material stays as fresh as possible. Using a base of Fraser fir (It smells so good!), we add as many different greens as are available, inserting berries, pine cones, and a pretty bow  to complete the decoration. Pictured here are two of them from last Christmas on display at the front of the shop. Or, if you’d rather make your own, we have the oasis available for you and ribbon galore!

 

 

Flowers And More For The Holidays…

Poinsettias & KalanchoesThe greenhouse is so beautiful all year round, but it’s especially so in the height of the holiday season. In fact, sometimes there are so many flowers and new plants coming in almost daily that they are literally everywhere – on tables, on the floor around tables, and anywhere we can find a spare space. Never let it be said we don’t have a little something for everyone!

Start with the bulbs of the season…paperwhites for fragrance and amaryllis for elegance. Paperwhite bulbs are readily available and so easy to plant in potting soil or a pretty bowl with pea gravel and water. We’ll also have plenty each week from growers, already planted, up and ready to bloom.

An elegant amaryllis is a wonder gift...

An elegant amaryllis is a wonder gift…

Amaryllis bulbs are notoriously  tricky to time; they will come up when they’re good and ready, thank you very much! If you want an amaryllis for a certain date, it’s really best to buy them a week ahead already  budded.

Many years ago I promised a customer that,  of course, I could have 12 amaryllis, all in full bloom, on a certain date for a big party…oh, did I sweat those! I thought I had all my ducks in a row until the date I received them from the grower. They were beautiful, with tall strong stems and large….buds.  (They had done their best to get them to the right stage of bud/bloom.)

The party was in less than a week, so I put them in the warmest spot in the greenhouse and worked some juju to make them bloom. Thankfully, they cooperated, and my customer didn’t know how close she came to having beautiful amaryllis….in bud. (Wait a minute, who am I kidding? I would have been scouring the city for 12 amaryllis in bloom!)

A 'Shooting Star' hydrangea...

A ‘Shooting Star’ hydrangea…

In the last five years or so, hydrangeas have become a popular holiday flower. Growers force these into bloom for the season, and they really are spectacular on their own,  in an arrangement for a party, or to give as a gift. If I would tell anyone the one thing to remember when they receive or purchase a hydrangea for themselves, it is this – please keep them watered. If they’re allowed to dry out one too many times, there will be brown spots on the otherwise beautiful blooms.

Phaelenopsis orchid...

Phaelenopsis orchid…

Regal cymbidium orchids make quite a statement...

Regal cymbidium orchids make quite a statement…

We have orchids every month of the year, but their beauty is particularly enticing through the holidays. They add a touch of elegance to any setting, beginning with the most common and easy to grow phaelenopsis, or moth orchid. Through December we also carry the impressive cymbidium orchids, with their fans of leaves and huge, drooping buds and blooms in shades of pink, yellow and white. Or you may want to try a diminutive but long lasting lady slipper orchid, whose leaves are often as beautiful as the blooms.

And the list goes on…with the sturdy and bright rieger begonias, the trick to growing them well is to  give them plenty of light and go easy on the water.  Be diligent in pulling off old fading blooms, and they will reward you with many weeks of color!

Pretty cyclamen...

Pretty cyclamen…

Cyclamen are another wonderful winter bloomer, flourishing in cool temperatures and going dormant as temperatures warm in the spring. Be very careful not to overwater (It’s best to water these from the bottom.)  and keep them in as cool a spot as you can.

Ornamental oregano and lemon cypress...

Ornamental oregano and lemon cypress…

These are just a few of the beautiful plants gracing the greenhouse throughout the holidays, Many others are grown more for foliage or scent, such as ornamental oregano, golden lemon cypress,  myrtle, and, of course the poinsettia, a mainstay of the season. There’s simply nothing prettier than a greenhouse in full bloom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Getting Ready For The Holidays…

we have lots of ornaments for your tree...

we have lots of ornaments for your tree…

 

 

 

 

Jamie, Molly, Pinkie and Lauren have been readying the greenhouse for the holidays; here’s a peek at what’s going on. Hope you can come by and see it all in person soon!

pretty in silver...

pretty in silver…

Pretty ornaments abound, along with silver pieces for your mantle, table or to give as a gift. Of course, we’ll have the cut greens, berries, branches and plants for your home, inside and out.

Holiday 2013

pretty owls and pinecone garland....

pretty owls and pinecone garland….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look also at the wood pieces…they’d be so beautiful on a natural tablescape with miniature orchids or other seasonal flowers. Green lichen mats add even more color and texture to this composition – they are wonderful!

Holiday 2013I hope you have the opportunity to visit, as  the greenhouse is a visual feast for the senses, awash in all the colors and scents of the season….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For The Holidays…Classes To Help You Decorate With Style!

We’re happy to welcome Ellen Riley, former garden editor for Southern Living Magazine, to help us out with some holiday classes, this November and December. If you’re interested in any of these classes, please give us a call as space is limited. All classes will be held on Dyron’s patio next door to the nursery.

Gracious Thanksgiving Centerpieces   Thursday, Nov. 21 10 a.m.

Reservation appreciated. 870-7542     Class $5.00 plus materials.

Come enjoy the season’s abundance and fashion a centerpiece rich with texture, color, and personality. Use your own container (or one of ours), or bring a door basket for a gracious welcome. You choose where to place your handiwork and together we will put together an arrangement fit for the celebration. Besides your container, harvest pretty leaves, branches, or fruit & veggies you may want to incorporate.

 

Merry Mailboxes           Tuesday, Dec. 3     10 a.m.

Reservation appreciated.   870-7542   Class $5.00 plus materials.

This class is part hands-on, and part demo.  Whether you’re into a ginormous arrangement or a more traditional look, we show you how to put together the perfect display to suit your home’s style and personality.  Face it – the mailbox is the first look we have of your holiday flair. So, let us show you how to do it up right. Besides, it’s pure fun!  Come home with everything you need, and your own hand-made bow.

 

Winter Terrariums        Dec 10        10 a.m.

Reservations appreciated   870-7542   Class $5.00 plus materials

We have our own Southern version of a winter wonderland, but rarely does it involve snow banks, icy ponds, drooping pine trees, and such. Our chance to see a beautiful flower poking out from freshly fallen snow just doesn’t happen here.  But, we can create a tiny world brimming with winter fantasy.  Bring a clear glass container (or choose one of ours), some pretty small branches and twigs if you have them, and let’s play.

 

Mantles – Magical and Magnificent Thursday, Dec 17  10 a.m.

Reservations appreciated.  870-7542   Cost $5.00 plus materials

Next to the tree, a mantle is your room’s natural focal point.  Come learn how to make a seasonal showstopper. Bring a container if you like, and any items you want to incorporate.  And, bring pictures of your mantle! If you don’t have one, don’t stay away!  These ideas apply to a sideboard or foyer table as well. Together, we will create the perfect arrangement for your holidays.