Recently, my friend, Mary, visited Colonial Williamsburg. While there she took photos of some of the wonderful outdoor Christmas decorations she saw on Duke of Gloucester Street, which is the main road through Colonial Williamsburg. I have never been there during the Christmas season, but I do so want to go. Have you ever been at Christmastime?
Mary said, “The arrangements go up right after Thanksgiving and remain up to January 6th. Most of the arrangements are hand made by the employees of Williamsburg, Va. and some arrangements, the employees who are lucky to rent these colonial homes make their own arrangements. Employees who rent are allowed to hire a florist to make their arrangement but everything has to ALL natural, and only items that would have been in Virginia in the 1700’s can be part of the arrangement. All of the arrangements are judged by the category-professionally made, hand made by an amateur, made by Williamsburg employee in the floral department. The arrangements are checked daily for anything that might have wilted. The pine roping is changed every 2 weeks.”
No wonder all the arrangements are so beautiful!
Come along and help me name the elements used in creating these amazing displays. I’ve numbered the pictures for easy reference.
2. This appears to be dried flowers with perhaps burlap interwoven throughout. I know I should know the names of the flowers…they look so familiar. Want to take a stab at it? The purple and pink are globe amaranth, I think.
3. I see pomegranates, pine cones and more dried flowers. Ummm, what are the long, skinny stalks?
4. So symmetrical! I wonder how long these arrangements lasted? Since they are outdoors in the cool temps, maybe they lasted for several weeks.
5. I LOVE this! I think those apples are called “Lady Apples.” I cheated and looked in one of my Colonial Williamsburg books for that info. The book I have is called, “Williamsburg Christmas” written by Libbey Hodges Oliver and Mary Miley Theobald.
6. More Lady Apples in this wreath. Looks like dried yarrow, pine cones and maybe holly berries. I used to have a pretty yellow yarrow growing in my perennial garden.
7. Love how the large wreaths coordinates with the smaller door wreaths.
8. Now would you ever think to use carrots in your holiday décor? Update: Wow, you guys are good! I’m learning a lot in the comments. Apparently, this building is horse related, hence the carrots and the following picture showing apples on stirrups. The thing on the door is called a Hames per Wendy, Mary’s sister. It’s part of a horse collar or yoke. I know you horsey folks are laughing. I know nothing about horses. The decorations are making more sense though, aren’t they?
9. I love the mossy looking stuff on the roof.
10. I wonder what the brown things are at the top of this arrangement? Anyone know? The shape makes me think of a turkey.
11. Who knew brown and green could make such a beautiful wreath. This wouldn’t be hard to duplicate, although where do you get seed pods that color? Ummm…
Close up of #12. I see cinnamon, maybe oranges, although they look pretty small for oranges. Do you think the purple flowers are lavender? I don’t think those are oranges—they sort of have ridges. So what are those orange things? Any ideas?
13. Beautiful! Dried flowers and lemons are a part of this wreath. I think the white things are dried okra…something else I gleaned from my Colonial Williamsburg book. It must be so much fun to work here and to make all these arrangements!
14. Okay, I think I can name almost everything in this arrangement. I see pine, antlers, pheasant feathers and cotton. Wonder what kind of berries they used. They don’t look like nandina, holly or pyracantha berries. Those are all common here in Georgia. What do you think? Would you ever think to use cotton in your Christmas decorations? Neat, huh?
15. What do you see? Looks like magnolia and could that be dried corn stalks mixed in with the magnolia leaves? Are those clove studded apples? I’m used to seeing oranges with cloves, but not apples. I wonder what the little figures are made from? Perhaps dried corn stalks?
Isn’t it amazing they were able to take everyday plants and fruits and make beautiful decorations. Of course, pineapple would have been a special treat back in Colonial times. You see pineapple used in a lot of arrangements over doorways because it symbolized hospitality.
17. Symmetry plays a big part in decorating in Colonial Williamsburg. You see it in the individual arrangements and also in how they were displayed outside home and businesses.
18. This must the the Silversmith. Looks like yarrow and shells were used in this pretty wreath. What else? Maybe dried lemon? What are the silver things? Are they cups? Or, maybe that’s pewter.
Hope you enjoyed this little tour highlighting a few of the Christmas decorations in Colonial Williamsburg. Mary, thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures! I’m really yearning to go for a visit during Christmastime now!
See you tonight for Tablescape Thursday.