Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg

Last Friday, a group of staff from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden traveled to Colonial Willamsburg to see the Christmas decorations.  At Colonial Williamsburg, they try to only decorate in the styles they would have used in the 18th-century.  On the historic Duke of Gloucester street, wreaths and swags, adorned with dried and fresh botanical material, decorated the homes and businesses.  A large team of staff members works to create these pieces, which number over 100. 
Many of the South facing buidings are decorated with dried materials.  Thiis one has wheat, orange slices, pomegranates, and straw flower.

Pine swag and wreath decorated with lotus pods, pine cones, okra pods, oranges, artichoke, straw flower
At this music shop, flutes, drum sticks, and folded fans made of sheet music accompany dried pomegranates and yarrow.
Wheat, lotus pods, artichoke, okra pods, and chinese lantern plant.
I was surprised to learn that some of the homes on this street were actually private residences, and that the homeowners get in on the fun to do their own decorations; all in the appropriate styles of course!  All of the decorations are judged and 12 blue ribbons are awarded- 6 for professionals, and 6 for amateurs. 
This homeowner depicted "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon" with cookies.
Pine cones, pomegranate, lotus pods, straw flowers, gomphrena, orange slices. 
This homeowner likes horses and has fresh apples hanging in stirrups.
Dried wheat, fresh apples, magnolia leaves, and boxwood in a horse's bridle.
At one of the taverns, clam shells and pint mugs decorated a wreath with hops and wheat.

The weaver's shop featured fabrics dyed with plant pigments.

Fresh oranges, money plant, yarrow, pine cones, and pomegranates.
The Horticulture staff got some wonderful ideas to use next year at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and we had a great day enjoying the historic town with our colleagues.
Being plant geeks, we couldn't help but notice this impressive oak.  After much debate about its ID, a Colonial Williamsburg staff member, told us it was a cross between Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) and Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata).

Vegetable Garden with bee skeps

Bell jars in the vegetable garden.
They are pretty harsh with their punishments when you misbehave in Colonial Williamsburg.  Luckily, Karen and I made it out alive!

Beth Monroe, Director of PR and Marketing, also wrote a blog post about this trip on the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Blog

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