Thomas J. Story

Turn garlands into festive focal point for your entry

Lauren Bonar Swezey,  –  December 10, 2004

For a simple but elegant holiday decoration, trim a trellis or two with evergreens and twinkling lights. They instantly transform a front porch into a festive focal point. In the entry above, a cedar and fir garland covers a wire obelisk at left, while rosemary stems wrap a spiral trellis at right.

Use any ready-made trellis as a base: an obelisk, a rose pillar, a spiral topiary frame, or other vertical form. To create a “tree,” just insert the trellis in a decorative container filled with soil, wire stems of evergreen to the trellis, wind a strand of tiny white lights around the greens, and you’re ready to celebrate. For details on the rosemary trellis, see directions on page 2.

Use a sturdy trellis, like a rose pillar, beneath heavy premade garlands purchased at a nursery or Christmas tree lot. Spiral trellises, which are more delicate, won’t carry a heavy load of greens; use rosemary or other stems tied in bundles as described in step 2 at right. The trellis, planter, and lights should cost around $40.

INFO: Kinsman Company ( or 800/733-4146) is a good source for rose pillars and spiral topiary frames. Lee Valley Tools ( or 800/871-8158) sells copper obelisks.



Spiral trellis

Potting mix

Pot to hold trellis

Pruning shears

1 spool florist’s wire

12- to 18-in.-long stems of rosemary or other greens

1 strand white lights


1. Poke the legs of the trellis into a soil-filled pot. Moisten the soil thoroughly to settle it around the legs.

2. Cut a 6-inch piece of wire.

Gather three rosemary stems and, leaving a 2-inch tail of wire, wrap the wire securely around the center of the stems; leave a second 2-inch tail of wire at the end of the wrap.

Make enough bundles to cover the trellis.

3. Place the foliage tips at the top of the trellis and wind the greens around the spiral. Secure the ends of the bundle by twisting the two wire tails around the trellis. Continue attaching overlapping bundles.

4. To install the lights, start at the top of the trellis and wind them around the garland.

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