By the time November rolls around (or the colder weather kicks in), many people tend to turn their focus more on the holidays and less on the landscape. And as we start all the traditional planning, shopping and decorating, we find ourselves on a personal mission to keep expenses as low as possible. Well, thanks to our gardens, decorating for the holidays can be fun, festive and affordable!

Homemade Mini Tree

Whether on your mantle or tabletop, your homemade mini tree will last for a few to several weeks – especially in cooler conditions and if you add water regularly.

Photo Credit: Veronica Lorson Fowler

Cutting foam

Cut the floral foam into a rough cone shape, leaving the top flat. Then soak it in water until it’s saturated.

Photo Credit: Veronica Lorson Fowler

Inserting greens

Insert your cut greenery in overlapping rows around the foam cone.

Photo Credit: Veronica Lorson Fowler

Wire final row

Insert a few sprigs of greenery on the top of the floral foam cone to mimic the top of a Christmas tree, then secure the final row of greenery near the top of the cone with floral wire to keep it in place.

Photo Credit: Veronica Lorson Fowler

Wired ornaments

Many craft stores carry tiny ornaments with wire already on them that you can use to decorate your tree.

Photo Credit: Veronica Lorson Fowler

This miniature Christmas tree decoration can be made in minutes – and without spending a fortune. (You might even already have some of the non-natural materials on hand.) Use just about any greenery from your garden, evergreen or otherwise. The key is that the plant material has to have fine needles or leaves that are in scale with the tree. (Southern magnolia leaves, for example, just won’t work.) Our mini tree uses arborvitae, but you can also use yew, fir, spruce, holly, rosemary – or nearly anything else that reminds you of the season!

The end result makes a wonderful table accent, or use two or more on a mantle. However many you make, they’ll last for weeks and add a festive, natural touch to your holiday décor.

Here’s how to make your own mini tree:

Materials

  • Greenery of your choice
  • Block of floral oasis foam (the type you soak in water)
  • Knife to carve foam
  • Decorative, watertight dish to hold tree
  • Floral wire
  • A few green rubber bands
  • Miniature ornaments

Directions

  1. Using a knife, carefully cut the floral oasis foam into a rough cone. Leave the top flat, not pointy. Soak the cone in water until it’s thoroughly saturated. Place in a bowl, shallow vase or other attractive, watertight container.
  2. Cut short pieces of greenery 1-3 inches long. Insert along the base, working in a circle completely around the cone. After completing the first row, if the greenery is sticking out too much, slip a green rubber band over the top of the greenery to hold it down and in place. Repeat process for the next row.
  3. Once you get near the top of your cone, stick in a few sprigs to mimic the pointed top of an evergreen tree.
  4. The final row is done a little differently than the process in Step 2. Hold those last few pieces in place, then wrap them around the cone with a long piece of floral wire. (Tuck in any little ends to conceal them.)
  5. Add tiny ornaments. (Craft stores sell an assortment of to-scale ornaments.) The easiest ones to add are those that are already wired and can be inserted directly into the foam. If your ornament of choice isn’t wired, you can add floral wire yourself, then twist it, cut it and push right into the foam.
  6. Add water to the dish and enjoy! (Keep adding water as needed so the tree doesn’t brown.) Your finished mini tree will keep a few to several weeks and will do especially well in a cool spot.

So why spend more money on expensive holiday decorations when practically all you need to create your own is growing right outside your front door? Give this easy and beautiful project a try – it’s sure to “spruce” up your holiday-filled home…“fir” pennies!