All Things Fresh and Green...

All Things Fresh and Green...


When you think of Canada, especially in the wintertime, the first image that comes to mind is probably that of majestic evergreens with snow-tipped branches. Many of our winter greens hail from British Columbia where the trees are known for their hardy branches and rich, dominant colour. We are so lucky to have such a wide variety of beautiful greenery available to us, including some that grow in Ontario! With the chilliest season now upon us, it’s this time of year more than any, where we want to bring the freshness and beauty of the outdoors in! Adding winter greens to your home via a gorgeous Oleander arrangement will deliver a touch of magic and festive spirit. Your nostrils will also thank you, as these fantastic foliages pack a punch in the scent department too!

Here are a few of our favourites that we design with throughout the winter season: 

Balsam Fir - this gorgeous tree grows from Newfoundland to Alberta and everywhere in between. It’s safe to say that this tree is probably one of the most recognizable in Ontario! Celebrated for its short flat needles and natural conical shape, the balsam fir is often the number one choice for a Christmas tree! 

Cedar - with its long stems and beautiful lacy tips, cedar leaves cover the branches in sprays, giving great texture and coverage when used in designs. Cedar also holds its colour really well and is known for being a minimum-mess green. The fresh citrusy fragrance makes it a favourite in the shop. And, If you’re lucky, the cut branches sometimes come complete with teeny tiny pine cones for extra cuteness too! 

Douglas Fir - different from the balsam fir in that its pine cones hang down. Douglas firs usually grow taller than balsam firs and have more of a bluish-green colouring. They have soft and flat needle tips that spiral out directly from the branch.

Pine - with the softest touch of all the greens, the needles on a pine tree can stretch from an inch to up to 11 inches long, depending on the species. Most needles grow in groups of two to eight. Pine is a great addition to any arrangement as it adds a lovely texture and depth. Be careful though, the sap is very sticky!

Spruce -  with stiff, sharply-pointed needles individually attached to small woody stalks, spruce trees are tall and thin with scaly bark. The needles easily roll between your finger tips, and the cones are egg-shaped in appearance. 

We also use specialty greens and branching in our arrangements to add even more interest. Some of these include:

Carolina Sapphire– noted for its fragrant blue-silver foliage, lacy texture, arching structure and its longevity. This is a beautiful product to work with and smells divine, with a scent that’s a cross between lemon and mint!

Eucalyptus– we love all types of eucalyptus here at Oleander! This versatile and aromatic greenery is known for its long vase life, and we use a wide variety in the shop depending on what is available, including: Seeded, Tinted (Silver, Gold, Red, Purple) and Silver Dollar.

Magnolia– distinguished by their rich glossy green and velvety copper leaves, these beautiful branches add a stylish contrast and a luxurious depth to regular holiday greenery. 

Oregonia – with oblong shaped leaves, oregonia’s lush branches make the perfect decorative filler for seasonal arrangements.  

Red Twig Dogwood - known for its vibrant red twigs, this bright branching gives a fabulous festive feel and is a lovely complement to the green of winter arrangements.

Canada’s winter greens are not just pretty to look at though. Many have been used both practically and ceremoniously by indigenous communities for decades:


  • White pine resin was used by indigenous people to mend canoes. The inner bark was used for bandages and the needles were crushed and applied to relieve headaches.


  • Cedar has many uses, including being used to build frames of longhouses. Cedar is also one of four sacred plants of the medicine wheel. It’s also known for its sweet scent when it rains or is burned.


  • Spruce is an excellent source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Spruce needle tea was used to stimulate sweating and to treat conditions such as scurvy. Fresh or soaked roots were peeled and split to make cordage (rope) for stitching and wood from the tree was used to make canoe paddles.

Although most of the greens we use are naturally hardy plants, once cut they do require some care if you want to get the best out of them. As with all our cut flowers, greenery should be displayed out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. We also use a variety of winter greens when designing our wreaths and outdoor holiday planters. Here are some general outdoor care instructions if you have one of these: If the weather is mild or windy be sure to mist your loose greens (wreaths, swag, garland) or water your greens (planters) weekly. However, once the temperature drops below freezing consistently, you won’t need to worry about misting or watering. Evergreens can absorb water through their needles, therefore, misting will add life and sheen.

As you can probably tell, we are in love with the wide variety of greens on offer to us. They can hold their own in the looks department, and this is also true in the price department too, particularly at this time of year! Expect good greenery, especially speciality greens, to be on a par, cost-wise, with cut flowers. That being said, we think greenery absolutely makes an arrangement and is worth every cent! To place an order, visit us here or give us a call on (416) 236 8273. For any planter-related enquiries, please call the store.

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