Happy Friday my friends! Christmas is right around the corner. Although you may have your inside decorations up and finalized, don’t forget to give attention to the outside too. I have been asked a lot about my outdoor planters, so I wanted to share just a few ideas to help you get the most bang for your buck. I also want to help you create beautiful pots, with both natural or artificial greenery. I have always preferred natural greenery to artificial, however there are many factors to consider. The first is climate. I live in the Midwest and that means that it can be 19 one day and jump as high as 60, just two days later. With fluctuating temperatures I have to choose wisely. When the temperatures stay cool and crisp, my fresh greenery tends to last longer. I do keep my pots damp, similarly to keeping a real tree watered and that definitely adds to their life and keeps the greens bright.
Another factor to consider is cost. Although artificial greenery can be expensive, so can fresh, and artificial is expensive once, then you have it for many years to come. Fresh greenery can be budget friendly if you use remnants. Going to your local nursery or home store can be very cost effective for fresh greens. They frequently have different types of clippings from Christmas trees being trimmed and you can get them for a few dollars a bundle, or even for free at some stores. You never know until you ask.
When looking for faux greenery, look at the end of the season. This is one way to score inexpensive stems. You may not get a lot of the same stems, but it’s good to have a variety in your pots. I collect pine cones from the woods behind my house and even cut small stems off of the huge pine tree in my yard. Free is always a winner. Michael’s, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Ballard Designs, and Pottery Barn all have good end of the season sales just to name a few, and if you’ve never checked out Afloral, go to their website immediately. They have amazing sales and some of the most realistic faux stems I’ve ever seen. Last year I scored a huge load, for less than half their normal price. I imagine there are lots of other places to go and I’m not a plant expert, so if anyone out there has other thoughts, feel free to comment. These are just places I’ve found success.
Now to the fun part, putting your planters together. I actually keep the dirt from my previous plants in the pots. This keeps my fresh greenery hydrated and also provides a stable base. You can also use dampened floral foam.
I start with a mixture of fresh greenery and I line the entire base with different lengths to create my “spiller.” Just like when creating summer planters, you want a “spiller, a filler and a thriller!” Once my entire urn or pot is lined with the pine, I begin to fill in the center.
Now to fill. For my planters this year I went with almost all fresh greenery on my porch and almost all faux greenery next to my garage. I chose, holly, eucalyptus, red berry stems, magnolia leaves, white birch branches, red wooden sticks, a green stem similar to a winter berry, and added faux antlers for a pop of white. I began with two faux pine stems in the back to give it height, then added eucalyptus, and the magnolia leaves. From there I just began popping the stems in to fill the entire space. The front of each pot was filled with the full green stems, and then came all the holly and red berries.
I continued to fill the urns until every bit of space was filled. Then I added in the birch logs, the red and white sticks, and antlers. This final step created the “thriller, ” and really helped to complete the look. Each year they are a little bit different and I’m thrilled with the result. This is where your creativity can shine. Some years I go all green, other years lots of red, and sometimes all white. I love to add pine cones too, but this year I left them out. It’s up to you.
Here is a picture of the urn I created with almost all faux greenery. The reason I used faux was because I totally forgot about this planter and had used all of the real stems. Yep, I forgot, so faux it was. I created it in the exact same way, just using various stems that I already had and added the antlers to tie it in with the planters in front.
Creating beautiful Christmas planters is much easier than you think. Whichever way you choose to go, I know it will be gorgeous. Planters add cheer to any style of home and give you a perfect and timeless look. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m here to help. Here’s one final shot of my porch at our traditional Colonial home. It makes me smile every time I drive up!
Happy decorating my friends. May you have the most amazing holidays with those you love. Cheers!