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Holiday Lighting, McDonald Garden Center

Easy Holiday Decorating with Invisilites, with Garden Guru, Mike Westphal

Invisilites are one of our favorite ways to brighten your holiday décor during the upcoming season. Invisilites are micro LED lights on a thin, flexible wire that are super easy to use. They come in a variety of styles, designs, and colors that will compliment any décor for the holiday season or all year-round.

We have the largest Invisilite selection in Hampton Roads. They come either on green, copper, or silver wire, and we carry them in both battery-operated and plugin. Our collection also includes snowflakes and stars, as well as gold, silver and red ornament string lights.

The possibilities are endless with these little lights. Use them in wreaths, garlands, small trees, houseplants, poinsettias, lanterns, glass containers, centerpieces, topiaries, figurines, mantles, branches, and so much more!

Lifelike Trees

Guide to Choosing a Lifelike Tree, with the Garden Guru, Mike Westphal

Check out the video on the Guide to Choosing a Lifelike Tree, with the Garden Guru, Mike Westphal:

Garden Guru, Mike Westphal, shares some information on some of the most realistic, lifelike trees. Learn about the different functions, sizes, and options offered by leaders in the industry.

Employee Spotlight, Candy Kitchen

Our employees are what truly make McDonald Garden Center a diverse and unique place to work and shop. We have some pretty amazing people with many backgrounds and different personalities who have a real passion for what they do, and Candy is no exception! Most of you know Candy from our Independence location in Virginia Beach, but most recently she was promoted to Visual Merchandiser at our Great Neck location.

On any given day, you can find Candy creating stunning visual displays, moving merchandise around the store to keep inventory appearing fresh and appealing, assisting and providing customers with inspirational ideas for their home and garden, or helping her fellow employees with whatever that might need. We asked Candy to share some things about herself and here’s what she had to say:

How long worked at MGC?

I have worked here since May, 1997. So, 21+ years!

What roles have you had over the year?

While I have always worked in the decorative and the patio departments, I have learned so much over the years that I can answer just about any question, in any department. Our customers don't always understand the concept of different departments, and I think they appreciate continuity of service. I prefer not to send customers to another department unaccompanied, so even if I don't know the answer, I go with the customer, so I too can learn.

What's your favorite part about working at MGC?

My favorite thing is the relationships I have built over the years. Not just with other employees but especially with customers. So many have turned into friends! I also enjoy teaching others, from doing classes to teaching new staff procedures.

Where do you get your inspiration from (books, catalogues, etc.)?

My inspiration comes from lots of different places. Magazines, pictures, from market, coworkers, and of course, Pinterest.

What's your favorite season at the Garden Center?

My favorite season is Christmas, of course. I like helping customers achieve the perfect holiday look. It's fun to teach people things they don't think they can do, like tying a bow, decorating a wreath, using ribbon in a tree, adding lights to unexpected places, etc. Don't misunderstand - I love all the seasons, but the holidays are my fave.

What's your favorite plant?

It would be hard to pick a favorite plant! I love Japanese Maples (I have 8). A sentimental favorite is German Iris (reminds me of my Grandmother), Solenia begonias (they do so well in my yard), pansies, black and blue salvia. See, I told you it's hard to pick one!

Other things you may or may not know about Candy

She’s an avid reader (she’s read about 70 books so far this year). She also enjoys knitting and crocheting, and of course, gardening. Candy has two, grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her fur babies (two dogs) keep her on her toes at home. She moved to Norfolk (Ocean View) when she was twelve and has pretty much been there since.

Yuletide Camellia

Plant of the Month, Yuletide Camellia

Here come the holidays and with that comes the beautiful blooms of the beloved Yuletide camellia. This beautiful, cool-weather bloomer is a Hampton Roads must-have with its warm, red flowers and glossy, evergreen foliage. Yuletide is a beautiful addition to the garden year-round, giving flowers at a time of year when not much else is blooming and green foliage all year long.

This evergreen shrub will grow to approximately 8–10 feet tall. It’s an excellent choice for a colorful hedge or screen, a border shrub, or use along fence lines to add vivid color to outdoor living spaces, porches, and patios. We also love planting this camellia in a container surrounded by other cool-weather plants like pansies, ornamental cabbages, and dusty miller. Yuletide prefers full sun to partial sun and consistent waterings with partially damp soil.

It's easy to add a pop of color indoors or out using Yuletide blooms. Indoors, float blooms a in a glass bowl for a quick an easy winter decoration or use Yuletide cuttings in a mixed floral arrangement. Outdoors, use Yuletide as the centerpiece in pots to greet guests during a wintertime visit.