Hello friends–Doug here.
Everyone, let’s try to embrace the artificial tree for a moment. As pretty and natural and good smelling as they are, real Christmas trees are also incredibly messy and in extreme cases, prone to bursting into flames. For this very reason, the trees at our stores are artificial and this year we’ve styled a couple of artificial trees for clients as well. One such case is at the Clubhouse at Silverock Cove on Smith Lake, near Crane Hill, Alabama (about an hour north of our Mountain Brook shop and studio). The tree at Silverock needed to stay lit 24 hours a day in an unattended building and because no one wanted to constantly clean up needles and remember to water the tree during the off-season at the lake–we agreed with the management at Silverock that an artificial tree was probably the best way to go.
It was a bit of a challenge to make an artificial tree look good in a place filled with natural beauty and surrounded by real trees everywhere, but we thought we’d share a few tips that we use to make an artificial tree look almost as good as the real thing.
So the first step is to find a decent looking artificial tree. The tree used at Silverock is a 7-1/2 foot artificial Douglas Fir — the tree has some variation in the coloring which we’ve found is a feature that helps from immediately shouting “I’m a fake tree!” like the solid green versions often do. The tree was also pre-lit which saved a lot of time stringing lights–although the cords on pre-lit trees often need a little adjusting once the tree is unpacked.
Adding natural elements is an ideal way to spice up an artificial tree. For the tree at Silverock, I went to our favorite local wholesaler in Birmingham–Davis Wholesale Florist–and picked up four bundles of dogwood branches. The branches are bare and about 12″ long with small buds at the tips. For the Silverock tree I went with natural colored branches although there were also bright red ones available (we actually used those in the Mountain Brook store mixed with magnolia leaves and they look AMAZING!). I wired dogwood stems into groups of three and then placed them throughout the tree, twisting the wire around the branches.
Artificial trees are famous for having ‘holes’ in them that from the right angle can reveal the big metal pole running up the center of the tree. By placing large-scale ornaments on the tree first, the biggest bare spots in the tree can be easily camouflaged. Once I had the tree filled out with the dogwood and larger ornaments, I mixed in gold mercury glass ornaments from our Mountain Brook shop. The ornaments were a mix of classic Christmas balls, gold acorns and gold pinecones. Inexpensive copper-colored glass balls were added to give depth and to provide contrast to the gold mercury glass.
The end result looks like this…
So what kind of tree do you have at your house this year? Real or artificial?