Some Tips to Keep In Mind When Arranging Your Winter Containers

This arrangement was created by one of the participants at our Winter Container Workshop

When you are planning your winter containers keep these tips in mind

  1. Use seasonal branches and berries.  Cedar, spruce  eucalyptus, magnolia, white pine redtwig dogwood,  red winterberry,  dried hydrangea flowers, milkweed pods, and teasle  are all good choices. Some you will be able to  gather on your property, some you may have to purchase from your local nursery.
  2. Choose your container. It can be an urn, a bucket, or a  bright red pot. Think about containers beyond the traditional flower pot. Watch yardsales and flea markets for containers you can press into service for outdoor winter decor. Be sure that it can withstand the winter elements and be sure it is weighted with perhaps a brick in the bottom so that it will  not blow over in the winter winds. Fill your container with potting soil, floral foam or play sand. Scrunched up chicken wire works as well.
  3. Start by tucking tall twigs into the centre of the design to give it height and drama. This could be redtwig dogwood, curly willow or pieces of white birch.  Remember to give your branches and twigs a fresh cut when you insert them into the pot. Cut on an angle. This enhances water uptake by exposing more surface to the moisture and  gives you a point to push the branch into the soil more easily .  Remove lower branches on stems so that buried needles do  not dry out making the branches wobbly.
  4.   Make a base of greenery around the bottom of the pot by tightly tucking in branches of evergreen. Arrange them so they droop down and outward giving the arrangement  a solid  base to rise from.
  5. Continue to fill in around the pot with more evergreen. The more the better. You want the container to look full. Remember the old addage of decorating outdoor containers applies here as well:  “Include thrillers, fillers and spillers”  
  6. You can tuck in some ornamental accessories such as pinecones, metal spheres, or  coloured Christmas ornaments. Add a bow if you like.  Sticking with accessories that are holiday-neutral, such as coconut hulls and rattan balls will allow your container to continue as winter decor as opposed to Christmas specific decor.
  7. When you are all finished making your arrangement and you have it in place, water the pot well. This will keep your fresh greens looking fresh longer and the water will freeze the twigs into the soil so that they will not blow out when the winds come.
  8. You can do a mid-February freshening up by pulling out or cutting off any faded greens that have become an eyesore.

The important thing is to have fun and remember there is no wrong way to make your arrangement.

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