December 1, 2011

abra lee, garden, Holiday Decorating

Written by Abra Lee, Garden Contributor

A few weeks ago Erika suggested starting off the month of December with a post on how to pick the perfect holiday tree. Her idea made me think back to an article I saved from the December 2010 issue of Better Homes and Garden magazine. In it garden designer Jon Carloftis used living trees instead of cut trees to decorate inside his home for the holidays. So my advice is this: if you pick a tree that you are willing to plant, then you have picked the perfect holiday tree


Better Homes and Gardens December 2010- Jon Carloftis’ living tree

Now don’t get me wrong, traditional trees are fabulous. After all, nothing fills your house with a rich holiday smell like a fresh cut Fraser Fir. However, it is okay to be different and purchase a container grown living tree. Just ask your local independent garden center for suggestions on trees with winter interest. 

Here’s an evergreen topiary shrub that looks great when planted in any container indoors or outdoors.

Maybe it’s a tree that is evergreen, has unique bark, or one with an unusual branching pattern. Perhaps it’s not a tree. What about a large shrub that flowers during December, an interior plant that adds life to the room once the holidays are over, or a fragrant herb shaped like a tree? Choices are endless so use your imagination and customize the tree purchase to your needs. The decorations you add will make your indoor “tree” festive though the choice is non-traditional.

courtesy of

Flowering shrubs are festive and Rosemary cut into topiary form add fragrance indoors during the holidays)Part of the holiday spirit is about giving and this is a great way to give back to the environment while starting your own tree planting tradition. When you pick a living tree you know it’s perfect because it will live on in your garden or be planted in the community once the New Year arrives. Plus you will have a great story to tell when guests come over and ask, “What’s up with that tree?”

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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

View all posts by Erika Ward

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