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PHOTO: Jessica Walliser
When winter arrives, it’s time to use garden planters to create beautiful arrangements of evergreen boughs, branches, berries, pinecones and other decorative accents. While it might seem super-easy to run to the store and grab a pre-made arrangement to plunk into an empty garden pot, it’s far more fun to create your own arrangement from materials found right on your farm using these four DIY winter container decoration recipes.
The plethora of natural materials found on most hobby farms is endless. From sprigs of winterberry and holly to branches of red twig dogwood, crabapples, spruces and privet, there are so many wonderful options! But, if the thought of designing an eye-pleasing winter container with these materials seems a bit intimidating, don’t fret! Today, we have four excellent DIY winter container decoration recipes that can help you create gorgeous holiday accents in empty garden pots with just a few minutes of your time.
Winter Container Decoration Recipes
To create the following winter containers, leave the soil in the pot after removing your summer plantings. Begin your winter container decorations by layering the bottom branches first, inserting their stems into the potting soil to hold them in place. Make sure the boughs hang over the edge of the pot, if the design calls for it. Next, continue layering the materials from the bottom of the design upwards, working with one material at a time. Always insert the cut end of the evergreen branch toward the center of the container so it looks like the branches are radiating out of the center point, as if they were growing there. Add any upright branches next, and finally add your pinecones, berry stems and other accents.
1. Winterberry & Curly Willow Container
- 10 stems arborvitae or cedar
- 4 stems boxwood or variegated boxwood
- 5 clusters of magnolia leaves (real or artificial)
- 10 stems winterberry
- 1 large branch of curly willow
2. Cedar, Spruce & Pinecone Container
- 8 boughs of weeping cedar or arborvitae
- 10 stems boxwood or variegated boxwood
- 10 stems spruce
- 3 clusters of magnolia leaves (real or artificial)
- 3 large, white-tipped pinecones
- 3 clusters of red Christmas ornaments, 3 ornaments in each cluster
- 1 strand of white twinkle lights
3. Hemlock, Rhododendron & Boxwood Ball Container
- 10 boughs of hemlock
- 12 tips of spruce
- 3 clusters of rhododendron leaves
- 10 boxwood tips, inserted into a ball of styrofoam or florists foam to make a ball shape
4. Fir & Boxwood Hanging Basket
- 12 stems of fir
- 4 stems of variegated boxwood
- 3 stems gold thread cypress or incense cedar
- 3 tips of rhododendron or magnolia leaves
- coir-fiber lined hanging basket
To prolong the life of your winter container decorations, once arranged, you can spray the cut evergreen stems with an anti-desiccant, such as Wilt-Pruf. This puts a waxy covering over the pores in the leaves or needles and prevents moisture loss. Since the base of the stems are inserted into soil, there’s no need to water the design, but adding some water to the soil soon after arranging can help hold the branches in place during heavy winds.
Have fun, be creative and enjoy the holiday season!