The holiday season is upon us and I went to something I haven’t seen before– the Holiday Flower Show at the Como Conservatory. I’ve often gone there during the winter months for the spring show (bright flowers and divine scents are welcome when there is still snow on the ground). The balmy humid air of the Sunken Garden just bathes me in warmth. I was impressed by the borders of bright red poinsettias and the contrast of reds and greens together. What surprised me though, was the secondary emphasis on succulents, planted in and among the poinsettias. Cacti-type plants with tough green skins and prickly spikes. I sat on a stone stair while people trickled by, anxious to snap their family Christmas photo just feet away from me. I liked the contrast of the gray-green prickly spike of a plant (Aechmea braeteata) next to the heap of poinsettias near the fountain border. So I sketched those. After awhile, the trickle of people picked up and I was in the way so I found a bench around the other side of the room and sketched out a planter poised above the water of the reflecting pool. It contained poinsettias, eucalyptus plants, and other grasses I can’t identify. Again, I never thought of sticking eucalyptus and poinsettias together, but they made a striking arrangement. I sketched in pen then did the watercolors later at home. It was a fun outing, and opened my mind to the ways that decorators choose plants to go together, sometimes the unexpected is fun to discover!