With Thanksgiving only a week away, now is the time to get your entryway prepped for the holidays. Say goodbye to those faded mums, sad pumpkins and yellowing ornamental cabbages. Bring on the evergreen boughs, red berries and twinkling lights!
Several years ago, Rochelle Greayer over at Pith and Vigor wrote a blog post called Whipping Up Some Holiday Containers. She showed how she had converted the planter box near her front door into one of those gorgeous winter containers that you see outside fancy restaurants and department stores. Rochelle made it look so easy…
Truth be told, it actually is both fast and easy to put together an arrangement like this. The one I made (shown below) only took about 20 minutes from start to finish. Collecting the ingredients is part of the fun. It’s a chance to rummage around your yard (and neighborhood) to see what you can come up with.
Ready. Set. Go.
My holiday planter would look much more impressive if I had purchased some interesting greens at the local garden center. Things like lotus seed pods, big pine cones, curly willow and such. But I was in a hurry (as usual) and just used what I had around the yard. That meant: red twig dogwood, spruce, balsam fir, false cypress and winterberry. Other ingredients that may be available in or around your yard could include dried hydrangea blossoms, allium seed heads, ornamental grasses, dried ferns, cattails, rhododendron leaves and holly branches.
As a general rule, you’ll want your finished arrangement to be at least twice the height of the container. So don’t be skimpy with branches and greenery.
Here’s another tip: If you live in growing zones 6 or 7, fill the container with daffodil or tulip bulbs before adding your greens. This doesn’t work in colder zones unless you have a way to protect the soil from freezing. But in most parts of the country it works great. To learn more about planting bulbs in containers, see How to Grow Spring Bulbs in Containers.
Once you have collected a generous pile of materials, use the bare branches to create a framework. This will define the finished size of the arrangement and also provide support for the greens that don’t have enough strength to hold themselves upright.
Once you have the stick-y framework, start to add your greens.
Then start adding the color.
This sort of understated, natural look suits me. If you prefer something more showy, you can always add other types of greens and berries, faux fruit, gold or silver balls, or bring in a big red bow. The last step is to add the lights.
Easy, right? So why not grab some pruning shears and see what you can come up with at your house? Putting together holiday containers is a creative and manageable project — and a nice break from raking leaves, cutting back perennials and planting the last of your bulbs!
Credits: The image used in the title block at the top of this post is from Nick McCullough’s blog Thinking Outside the Boxwood. The group of four images just below it appeared in a blog post by Jana Milbocker at Enchanted Gardens.
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