I know many of the stores start carrying the outdoor greens and ready made arrangements mid-November. I personally think it’s a little too early to buy them especially if you want the arrangement to look good in January and February. Too early to buy but not too early to plan.
Here are some tips if you’d like to make your own arrangement, for yourself or even for a gift.
* A removable pot that fits in your container. It’s often easier to make the arrangement elsewhere (garage, backyard) and then transfer it to your container out front when you are happy with it.
* The pot can be filled with tightly compacted soil or Oasis.
* Oasis is the floral foam (looks like a green brick) that you soak slowly in water. It holds a lot of water, which really helps to keep your greens looking good until early spring. If using Oasis you will need a bucket of water to soak the bricks in.
* Also for Oasis, the trick is to pack the container full of oasis so that there are no large gaps, at least 3 bricks per container and the bricks can be easily cut and stacked to fit the container. Also don’t worry if when stacking the bricks your Oasis is higher than the pot. Just tape down with florist tape so that the fit is really tight and so that the container can support the branches. This is the best part of using it as the greens can now go into the foam horizontally all along the edge of the pot creating a nice drape.
* The most important point when designing with foam is take your time. Once you put a stem into foam you should not remove it. Once it’s in, work around it.
* I suggest using 3 different types of evergreens (i.e. Cedar, Pine, Spruce). Each has a different texture and will fill in the container differently. I start with the pine and then fill in with others.
Now you can get creative…
* Here you can go with a theme of outdoor ornaments or use things you have around the yard.
* Pine cones, large or small, just wire them to a stick and insert into the foam or soil.
* Sumach branches, dried hydrangeas, magnolia leaves, holly.
* I like putting a pomegranate on a skewer and adding that for a pop of colour.
* And lastly, some colour sticks for height. Many use red dogwood but there are a lot of options like birch branches, curly willow or even green dogwood.
Pictures above and below are a few examples of ones that I have helped create over the years.
Have fun and be creative. You can also purchase a “base” arrangement from a local nursery and add to it to make it your own.
The key is that whether you create your container in soil or oasis, you need to add water to it periodically over the winter to help give additional moisture to the greens.
Here are a few more pictures of winter containers for inspiration!