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by Matthew Mead

Matthew is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor, and noted style expert. Matthew is the official food photographer for the Associated Press and is a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, and Oprah.com. He has also written several books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

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  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • I truly suffer from holiday "let-down" coupled with the gray, cold, winter blues, so even in the dead of winter, my mind turns to "green" things. Bulbs, flowers, herbs, and plants that I can mix into dish gardens and terrariums inside or the planning and growing of plants that I will add to my garden throughout the year. These are easy resolutions as they keep me busy during the long winter and I'm able to thing about how I will re-landscape my yard and the many parties and gatherings I will host throughout the year.

    This year, succulents are really going to fit the bill. They always look beautiful in the garden, they take very little watering and care, and the plants come in many interesting varieties and textures which will allow me to create lots of container gardens to use and re-use as centerpieces and harvest for table embellishments.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Use moss and a wire form to create miniature wreaths to jazz up candles or hurricane vases. Secure a succulent to a napkin with twine for an elegant place setting.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Planters of all kinds, both hanging and terra cotta, are perfect for planting and dressing up all corners of the yard including steps, porch railings, or hanging over a dining table. I keep things on the smaller side so I can move planters around and re-arrange my yard at a moments notice.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Make botanicals the focal point by contrasting by using neutral dishware in lieu of planters. White dishes allow the plantings to move from deck railing to the table with ease and seamlessly blend with my table top dishes and stemware to dress up a buffet or bar table. I also like to have lots of topiary trees as well, as they make nice displays down the center of the table and are a nice height to add interest and color to a buffet table or bar.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Create wine and drink buckets by placing a bottle in the center of a white bowl and plant around it.  Let the plants have a few weeks to set and replace the bottle with chilled wine or decanted punch to create a growing table top accessory. Buy fragrant plants like rosemary, lavender, and lemon verbena to add a subtle fragrance.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Large succulent planters yield many cuttings for all types of table top design and can be plopped into place to fill bare spaces in the yard or around your entertaining area.  Small clippings of multiple succulents placed in white ware dishes make perfect place card holders.

    My resolutions will keep me going well into the new year and I am steadfast that planning and action will bring wonderful green things to enjoy when the weather turns warm.

    What are your resolutions?

    - Matthew
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