Looking for something besides the usual red poinsettia for Christmas decorating? With Rose Sunday coming fast, are you ready for Greening Sunday at your church? The flower appeal letter has gone out, notices are appearing in church bulletins, and all over America altar guild flower
arrangers are sending in their orders to florists and nurseries this week. Busy times ahead indeed. One “green” which is often overlooked is the versatile eucalyptus.

There are many varieties of eucalyptus, native to Australia-both in tree and shrub form.  Florists in America generally use the familiar tall, spiky variety or another type that  is called in the trade, “seeded or beaded” eucalyptus shown on the wreath above.  “Beaded Euc” has glorious silvery-sage green oval leaves and plump clusters of dense green-yellow beads.  Both will dry beautifully, and make a gorgeous wreath all by themselves.  I like to pick in clusters of beaded euc into my festive Christmas greenery for contrast.  The little wooden green picks are perfect for this, but not essential. It smells heavenly, can take some dry indoor abuse and still look great, and has a lovely natural look.  Usually I favor all-natural materials, but I do love this wreath in the photo above, which is finished off with several sizes of silvery mercury-silver balls.  The balls complement the silvery color of the eucalyptus.  Silver, gold and white are always appropriate for Christmas decoration for churches- in fact, I prefer them to red and green-which are  more secular colors.

There is another variety of eucalyptus, a little harder to find, called silver dollar, which droops gracefully, features large, rounded leaves and wonderful big blue-green seed pods.  Eucalyptus also is fabulous used in pew ends, lasts a long time and is great for all those with stuffy headcolds.  Many is the parishioner I have beheld bending over to take a good whiff of the eucalyptus!

Creamy ivory or sage velvet ribbon looks great if you need to add a bow or a swag festoon or rosette, and a touch of metallic silver is – divine!