Palmetto Christmas Tree

Why not follow the custom of the ancients and make use of the design qualities of the Palmetto?

For this highly stylized tree, take seven 4′ lengths of Palmetto and cut the leaves with a sharp knife or scissors into an oval, spear, or free-form design.

The stems can be manipulated into pleasing curves by placing both thumbs on the under side of the stem with the fingers folded over the top of the stems. The heat from your hands will soften the stems. Bend and press gently but firmly until a curve is achieved. Tie a No. 32 wire just above the curve of the stem, pull the wire taut and fasten to the end of the stem.

Re-cut the stem and place it in water for several days or until the new curve is established. Allow the wire to remain on when you arrange it if it will not show, otherwise, remove it.

Arrange the palmetto in a bucket of moist sand.

Spray bunches of Spanish moss with one coat of gold spray paint. Wire bunches to the leaf at the point where the leaf and stem join.

Coat pineapple, pomegranates, limes, avocados and kumquats with two coats of shellac. Use two small coconuts in their natural coloring to add interest­ ing texture and form to the grouping.

Spray the leaves of the pineapple and the limes lightly with gold, allowing some of the green to show through to’ act as a transition between the green palmetto leaves and the gold of the fruit. For a more formal effect, gild all the fruit and the palmetto. Paint the holder to harmonize with the color scheme.

Place the pineapple on a pinpoint holder which rests on the sand. Make sure it is well anchored. Arrange the other fruits in a balanced design around the pineapple. Hold the fruit in place by inserting one end of a toothpick into the pineapple and the other into the other fruit. Build the design by following the above method.

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