In an early post on this blog, I confessed to being botanically-challenged. I thought I was cunning in my use of dried flowers and specialty vases to disguise my deficiency, but the person who came up with an ingenious method for preserving this ornamental evergreen shrub was really thinking outside the box—and inside the boxwood. Long used in outdoor gardens to create hedges and parterres, boxwood is a popular element in decorative wreaths and topiaries. Its sturdy stems give structure and form to arrangements, while the glossy, deep green leaves look dramatic on their own or as part of a floral display.
Boxwood can be preserved by soaking the stems in a mixture of water, glycerin, floral dye, and citric acid. This gives it the look and feel of fresh greenery, requiring only a misting with water once a month or so to keep it supple and vibrant indefinitely. Preserved boxwood wreaths, balls, and topiaries can be pricey, but when you consider their beauty and longevity, they’re a good investment. Kirsti purchased a live boxwood wreath this holiday season and it already died, whereas mine will still be around next year…and the next.
Preserved boxwood wreaths can adorn a wall or door year-round, with embellishments added seasonally, if desired. At the holidays, I like to tie on a single red bow. You can also use a wreath to frame a small mirror, giving you the sense of peering through the hedge of a secret garden to gaze at your reflection. Topiaries bring the feel of a formal garden indoors, which is where they should be kept, since the elements can wreak havoc on even the most well-preserved specimens.
Despite its price, excellent deals on preserved boxwood can be found during post-holiday sales, so look for bargains online. I hope to find a good buy on a large boxwood sphere to fashion into a Victorian kissing ball for next year. By the time I lure an unsuspecting gentleman to view my handiwork, he’ll already be under the mistletoe. Now that’s boxing clever!
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A diverse collection of preserved boxwood items can be found at Bella Marie. For instructions on how to preserve your own boxwood cuttings, visit wikiHow.