Diggin’ In: Replicate festive décor inspired by holiday walking tours

December 7, 2015

In December, holiday open houses and walking tours feature decorating ideas you can replicate at home.

In southeastern Virginia, historic homes tours in Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Gloucester offer the opportunity to do just that. You can walk Colonial Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street now through Jan. 1 where you will see doors and windows decorated with fresh fruit- and floral-embellished wreaths and swags. Early December, the Dudley Digges House on Main Street in Yorktown is festooned with fresh wreaths, swags and crescents made from garden materials by York/Poquoson Master Gardeners.

Here’s how to make a couple of those decorations:

Fruit & flowers

"This arrangement using fruits and flowers should last approximately 10 days," says Tina McManus, decorating chairperson for the 26th annual Christmas Open House sponsored by Ware River Circle of the King’s Daughters and Sons in Gloucester.

"You can replenish the flowers to make the arrangement last throughout the season."


l tall cylinder-style glass vase on a pedestal, or something similar in clear glass

1 four- to six-inch round piece of floral foam — or shape your own rounded form from a floral foam brick available at craft and floral supply shops

Fruit to fill the vase (three to four pieces); for example, pears, apples, pomegranates or anything else that goes with the theme of your event or décor

Decorative floral sticks to embellish, optional

Numerous stems or pine, cedar, nandina, astromeria and white lilies with buds barely open

One large bunch assorted flowers in desired colors from your garden or a floral shop


— Soak floral foam circle and drain. Cut greenery and allow stems to condition, or soak in water at least overnight.

— Fill glass vase with fruit, leaving room to set the floral foam partially into the vase, about two inches.

— Insert stems of pine at the bottom of the floral foam, creating a circle of pine. As you work, establish width and height of the arrangement.

— Overlap with more pine and begin inserting cedar.

— Continue with the cedar until the entire ball is loosely covered. Insert lilies into the floral foam, making sure the look is balanced or asymmetrical.

— Add flowers and nandina, and arrange to your satisfaction.

Digges House décor

Four front windows on the Dudley Digges House in Yorktown are festooned with matching decorated crescents. A wreath is hung on the front door and a soft swag goes on the front gate.

The crescents are wooden "smile" shapes with nails to support fruit and evergreens in a traditional Colonial style, according to project coordinators and York Master Gardeners Jane May and Merrilyn Dodson. Magnolia leaves provide a dark-green background for each crescent.

The Master Gardeners buy a ready-made plain fir wreath and adorn it with pomegranates, lemons and magnolia pods. Boxwood sprigs and dried okra pods are wired in among the fir boughs. Florist wire, staples and hot glue guns are used to attach foliage and accent pieces, which can include china berries, holly, red berries on stems, lavender stems and rosemary sprigs.

"Pomegranates, lemons and magnolia pods provide interest shapes and color contrast," says May.

"If you decorate a wreath for a door that is used often, choose fruit that you can mount securely.

"It helps to cut the fresh foliage as late as possible and spritz it with water. The fruit may need to be replaced during the season."



Associated Press