There is nothing that stirs the holiday spirit like beautiful floral decorations in a grand, old Southern home. While I am a fan of traditional Christmas decoration with its red and green, there is a fine line between festive and flashy. I have to appreciate the creativity in a holiday design that honors tradition, but is just a little bit different. Sybil Sylvester of Wildflower Designs is one of those rare floral designers who knows how to put just the right touch on any project. In this case, I want to share with you what she has done in a nearly century-old Italianate villa that calls for just such a unique dose of Christmas cheer.
“I don’t want to overshadow everything else with the decorations,” says Sybil of the stately home’s marble floors, dramatic arches, and elaborate moldings. “I like to compare it to finding the right pair of earrings to go with a beautiful dress.”
The Birmingham, Alabama, designer says that right away she knew “red and green decorations didn’t feel right for these spaces.” In the foyer, she took color cues from the orange trees the homeowner cultivates in a greenhouse all year so that they are bearing fruit by Christmas. Sybil composed a lavish arrangement of white amaryllis, Polo roses, camellias, David Austin ‘Patience’ roses, oranges, and Hawaiian dendrobium orchids and placed it atop an antique painted table centered on a black-and-white checkerboard floor. “The orchids give the same feel as little orange blossoms,” she explains. “And the dark, shiny leaves of the camellias resemble the leaves of a citrus tree.”
Overall, Sybil’s holiday displays enhance rather than compete with the innate style of the home. Her layered floral profusions offer a fresh version of Christmas cheer that is sure to add even more joy to the season.
You can see more beautiful decor in our Southern Home Holiday Issue!