The desert isn’t exactly prime territory for pine trees, snowy winters and mistletoe, but the Encore Boston Harbor team and Wynn Resorts folks in Las Vegas have teamed up to learn a new palate of plantings in time for their first holiday season in Everett.
And despite going really big and all out, it is also the first time they have worked in a real winter environment.
“This has been first and foremost on the minds of many of us from Las Vegas going back several years,” said Patrick Chadwick, director of horticulture and floral at Encore. “We’ve never done this before in this environment…We wondered how it would look. The whole standard we uphold with our program in Las Vegas isn’t what you would have in a cold weather climate. We wanted to create something that would fit without relaxing the standard we uphold. It wasn’t just a year in the making, but many years. We have never done this before.”
But they certainly learned quickly.
Chadwick said they have 26 holiday trees, 16 wreaths, 500 feet of garland and 5,000 six-inch poinsettias providing the backdrop for the colossal display.
“We started planning during construction,” he said. “We build everything in house and started construction on our holiday display six months ago. We have already started building towards our 2020 display as there is no better time to do that than when everything is in place this year. This was the first year and the first time in the space so there are some things we’re tweaking as we go.”
The lobby in Everett, he said, is much different than in Las Vegas – with different tones due to the different seasons, as well as more lighting from outside. That led to a totally different design.
The holiday trees are quite special, and while they are a typical artificial tree, they have been customized in a way only Encore could manage. Each branch of every tree has been affixed with lights, meaning that each of the 26 trees uses 16 strands of lights each.
“The ornaments are very interesting as well,” said Chadwick. “There are 25 different types and shapes of ornaments on each tree. That’s what makes them particularly special as well.”
The poinsettias line all of the holiday displays in the lobby, and with more than 5,000 needed, Chadwick said he has already begun to order for next year’s display. Each of the six-inch plants is live and irrigated in place, he said, and have been growing all year long.
That was only accomplished though the work of a dedicated team, as the Encore only had a few months to practice in the new space after the June opening – but also to work in an environment where it’s low light because of the early sunsets on the East Coast.
“I have a fantastic team that helped alleviate all my concerns along the way,” he said. “The team did well, some of whom are Everett residents.”
He said they used 15 florists and 15 gardeners on staff.
Meanwhile, outside in the cold weather was a totally new experiment.
Coming from Montana originally, Chadwick thought back to the winters there and some of the plants that work in a cold environment.
This year, along with lighting up 67 trees outside the resort, they did full plantings all over the outside areas.
Some things, like gold euonymus, really worked out, while the blue chip juniper is something they will improve upon next year.
“This is the first time and we’ll do tweaks,” he said. “We have our successes in some places and not others.”
Beyond that, they also have catered to some families and conventions looking for the holiday spirit. Some have requested trees in their rooms, while others have asked for presents for children. All of it is something Chadwick said they are happy to do.
“I really hope everyone in the communities come down and see it,” he said. “Take a walk through the lobby and along the HarborWalk. Particularly, the whole program is very special when it’s snowing outside.” The holiday décor will remain up through the first week of January. At that time, they will change over to celebrate the Chinese New Year, a major attraction at the resort.