Look Alive

The onset of winter doesn't mean you can't conjure a little spring around your home in the meantime.

Let’s face it, Cleveland has never been known for its beautiful weather, especially during the winter. Gray skies and snow that lasts until April give the outdoors an air of dullness, but that doesn’t mean your home needs the same boring look. Ditch those horrid poinsettias (what kind of word is that anyway?) and spice up your house with a fresh, wintry look that will last all season long.

Arne Klein, the Emeril Lagasse of plant design, gave advice on how to kick things up a notch with the plants in your home. As head designer and vice president of Plantscaping Inc., Klein says you can divide seasonal plants into two main categories: blooming and greenery.

For blooming plants, Klein has two holiday favorites: amaryllis and orchids. If cared for correctly, these flowers will definitely last at least a month. There are other blooming plants you can use, he says, but none will last as long.

Amaryllis come in an array of colors, including reds, white with red, pink and deep maroons. Orchid colors include white, lavender, deep purple and yellow. All are neutral colors that will brighten your home during the winter and coast you right into spring.

Klein suggests adding a creative flourish by covering the potted plant soil with colorful glass bulbs and pine needles. This easy decorating technique can be removed after the holidays are over, but the winter continues to drag on.

And don’t forget the joys of color-scheming. Try using bulbs and ribbons of gold and silver, or bold winter colors.

Orchids will grow toward the light, so they need to be turned every day, Klein advises. He realizes that most people will be too busy to remember to do this every day. Not a problem, he says. Simply use a few bare twigs from outside and some fun ribbon and tie them to the orchid stem to keep it growing straight. Just another kick your plants might need.

For an elegant and rustic look, add a little greenery, says Klein. Greenery can create beautiful, easy arrangements that are fuss-free. Using fresh greenery with white pine needles, feathers, pinecones or glass bulbs can easily convey the winter season without doing the normal Christmas thing.

Kids can even help by decorating with a bowl of oranges stuck with cloves. Randomly place the cloves in the oranges or arrange to form stripes or stars. Great for a party, the oranges mix well with twigs and greenery and produce a wonderful fragrance, says Klein.

He also recommends hanging greenery on the inside of windows, placing it in vases or on your mantel. Any pine will have a good shelf life, he assures. If you have a deeper mantel, place a few bowls of water behind the greenery to help it last longer.

For that little extra kick, don’t forget to hang fake icicles, ribbon or glass bulbs.

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