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Stairway Garlands

Martha Stewart Living, December 2001

"Deck the halls with boughs..." the old carol urges. Let luxurious evergreen garlands dress your front-hall staircase for the sociable season ahead. Embellished with satiny ribbons and gold mica, ornamented with waxy fruits, or combined with manicured wreaths of red pepperberries, each of the garlands you see here and in the links below uses the foliage of a different tree -- magnolia, eucalyptus, or juniper -- to achieve a rich effect.

These well-groomed ropes give living form to a decorative architectural motif that goes back to ancient Greece and Rome, in which leaf, stem, and tendril flow out of one another in a continuous line. We outline failure-proof techniques for making a garland that is many cuts above the standard evergreen chain sold by florists and garden centers.

The greenery is easy to install on a typical stairway banister using pieces of floral wire. It will either dry beautifully or stay lush and fragrant (with a daily misting of water) for up to three weeks -- plenty of time to offer an extended welcome to holiday guests and visitors.

The Garlands
Juniper-and-Pepperberry Garland
Eucalyptus Garland and Waxed Berries
Magnolia Garland