published Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Season's greening Shrubs, trees add richness to holiday in Chattanooga area

  • photo
    Daniellow arborvitae, which resembles a cedar tree, can be planted in outdoor pots.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Signal Mountain Nursery, 1100 Hubbard Road, Signal Mountain, has scheduled these holiday-themed events. Call 886-3174 for more information.

* Thanksgiving weekend: Take a Holiday Stroll through the greenhouses to get ideas for decorating; cameras are welcome. Ball-and-burlap trees and fresh-cut greenery for wreaths will be available. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays.

* Dec. 1: Miniature garden class, 10 a.m. Described as a chance to give "a present that is extraordinary." Limited space. Materials fee to be determined.

With the holidays just around the corner, it's not too early to plan for indoor and outdoor decorating.

While colorful lights and inflatable characters have become the norm for outside decor, adding live plants, shrubs and trees to the mix adds beauty not only during the holidays but year-round.

Kim Bonastia, whose family owns Signal Mountain Nursery on Signal Mountain, said many outdoor plants, shrubs and trees are perfect for holiday decor.

"You can use a multitude of different evergreens such as arborvitaes, Alberta spruces, boxwoods, chamaecyparis, ivies and even grasses like sweet flag grass and Japanese sedge grass," Bonastia said, noting that each one does well in pots.

"Since the planters are above ground, roots are more subject to the fluctuating temperatures and moisture levels than if they were in the ground. The constantly changing temperatures could damage roots and sometimes cause the plant material to die, so this is always something that should be kept in mind when putting in pots above ground."

There are, though, steps to keeping potted plants healthy, she said.

"You can spray Wiltpruf (an anti-desiccant) to the evergreen foliage to reduce damage from winter sun and wind. It is always better for your container to be adequately watered before a hard freeze. It is important to not overwater in winter, too, because with the colder temperatures, the plant material will not use water as much as in the summer."

Bonastia said potted plants placed outdoors should be watered every 10 to 14 days but should be checked weekly as a precautionary method.

Live plants also are ideal for indoor decor.

"There are a plethora of plants to use inside (and) many benefits as well," she said. "They help clean the air inside your home from some of the harmful chemicals that are emitted."

Signal Mountain Nursery grows its own poinsettias, and they'll be ready by Thanksgiving, Bonastia said.

Other popular plants for holiday decorating are anthuriums, dracaenas, palms, syngoniums, peace lilies, Z plant, sansevieria, ficus and pothos.

"You can do combination planters or just standalone plants. Houseplants always bring cheer to the indoors when it is gloomy outside," she said.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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