Sprigs of Silver

home & garden: seasonal style

Start a new holiday tradition: Deck your halls with shimmery foliage.


By Debra Prinzing
Photos by Thomas J. Story Prop STyling by Janna Lufkin
Above Image | Top this! Sure, it's what's inside that counts, but fresh gift toppers make the presentation unforgettable too.

There tends to be a certain formula to holiday decorating: Trees and wreaths bring the greenery, while tinsel and lights take care of the shimmer. But take a second look at the plants in your garden or nursery. "Silver foliage is nature's tinsel," says Amoreena Herbage, who specializes in offbeat arrangements at Midnight Blossom, the tiny, magical floral shop she co-owns with her husband, Matthew, in Seattle.

On these pages, Herbage uses silver foliage to reimagine traditional holiday decorations, creating dusty miller place settings, juniper gift toppers, and a wreath of silver dollar eucalyptus and tillandsia "snowflakes."

But don't feel limited to the plants on these pages for the projects; you can also swap in other easy-to-find shimmery foliage, such as artemisia, lamb's ears (Stachys), and olive sprigs.

"Making wreaths and bouquets doesn't have to be a paint-by-numbers exercise," Herbage says. "It can be more spontaneous, more fun. There's a place for imagination here."

A new wreath

For this Western take on a holiday standby, bend three pliable curly willow tips into a circle and wire the ends together. Weave two more willow tips through them, then wire all twigs together in several places. Tuck in eucalyptus clippings and tillandsias. Set on a table, or wire everything into place and hang.

Shimmery showstopper

To create this oversize arrangement, bunch together silver tree branches (Leucadendron argenteum) with tightly coiled fern fronds and Brunia laevis sprigs with white berries. Finish with an African mask leaf (Alocasia × amazonica).

Winter in a jar

Small jars of dusty miller foliage and Brunia laevis berries make frosty-looking place settings.

A wintry welcome

For an entryway decoration that's almost as easy as hanging your coat, tie together bunches of silver dollar tree (Eucalyptus cinerea) and silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum) with twine. Add a Tillandsia xerographica as a velvety bow and hang from a hook.

Top this!

Sure, it's what's inside that counts, but fresh gift toppers make the presentation unforgettable too. Just tuck bouquets of houseplant leaves (like peperomia and pilea), juniper, and silver tree leaves under ribbon, or glue fern curls and lichens right onto packages.


More ways to brighten your home this holiday season: Go to sunset.com/holiday-decorating.