Nature inspires my holiday décor. I love the fresh scent of evergreens at my door throughout the winter months. This year I created a winter planter as a still life with a lantern, birch logs, pheasant feathers, 15 different varieties of evergreens, crimson winterberries, some ornaments and a pair of skates~winter motifs that can take us through the holidays and beyond. The evergreens were inexpensive and found in the yard and from cuttings at the local nursery, free for the asking. Having lost our red twig dogwood I painted branches I had in red acrylic paint for height and color. For stability, large arrangemnts such as this should be anchored in dirt or sand. This also allows for easier angulation of the plant material to suit your arrangement.
My inspiration piece was a tall silver lantern I received as a gift from my beloved niece Vanessa last Christmas. The lantern, although shiny had a wooden handle and I felt this evoked a rustic ambiance. I let natural elements set the course for this arrangement and reflected the silver tones of the lantern in mini silver ornaments wired onto florist stems, saved from a florist arrangement last year. Using winter motifs such as skates and a snowflake ornament will extend the season of the planter beyond Christmas. The silver blades of the skates complemented the lantern’s silvery shine. The white leather and the white in the birch logs and snowflake all balanced the white of the tall pillar candle. The skates filled with their own greens and tied onto the front of the planter with a big plaid French ribbon and bow provide a touch of whimsy. The nature inspired planter has plenty of sparkle and shine to extend a festive wintry welcome!
The principals of creating a planter of winter greens is much the same as that of working with annuals in your summer planters: think height, trailers and fillers in between. The more textural interest you put in the planter, the more beautiful it will be. This large planter was created in 2 parts: the lantern and everything else. The lantern’s height determined the placement of all the other foliage. I rested the lantern on some cardboard on the soil to keep it secure. I then arranged a basket of greens to its left, which I plopped inside the planter. The soil was moist when I started to work. By working in a basket I could spin it around as I created it and look at my arrangement from all sides as I worked. Angulate the greens you want to “spill” outwards by inserting them on a downward pointing angle. In between the lantern and the greens I placed the birch logs, curly willow and red twigs. The final touches were the feathers, pine cones, berries and the ornaments. I tucked several branches of extra greenery around the while planter until I was satisfied with its fullness. It is important to step back from your container planter to critically assess it as you work and make the necessary adjustments. My planter is at eye level and will be seen from above. I bore this in mind when creating it. All the greens were sprayed with Wilt Proof, a moisture preservative designed for evergreens. Work outside with this spray, it is nasty.
For garden enthusiasts I am listing the evergreens used in creating the arrangement. Any varieties are fine bearing in mind you need some that are sturdier for the center and for height such as fir or spruce and others that are softer for delicate spilling effect such as cedar and white pine. Other considerations include selecting greens that are varigated and of different hues/colors and of different textures. I chose some cryptomeria with tiny pinecones attached to its boughs. Lovely detail! My greens included: white pine, frasier fir, douglas fir, varigated origonia, boxwood, red huckleberry, gold tip cedar, incense cedar, golden arbovitae, arbovitae, Leyland cypress, fern leaf cypress, yew, holly, Japanese cryptomeria and spruce. I used all things I had on hand for this project, repurposing ornaments in new roles. The birch logs were serendipitously trash picked on a roadside yesterday!
After Christmas, you could remove the ornaments and have the planter transition into a winter planter. I hope to have inspired your holiday décor.