Now that we are in December I want to continue on with the idea that you can keep your pots going even longer in the year. By now, with the exception of any cabbage or kale, your fall pots look shot. It’s likely that you’ve emptied them and maybe you’ve even put them away for the season. The fact is, the same pots you use for spring/summer, and fall annuals can also be used for the holidays and at a fraction of the price. In fact, most of it can be found in your yard. Well in my case, my neighbor’s yard, but hey, I doubt they noticed. When planting a pot with annuals, you can accomplish a lot of “interest” with different flower colors and types. You also have a myriad of choices for height and hanging plants. When it comes to a winter pot, you are limited in the materials you can use. Because of that you will want to focus on the texture of the plant as well as the color.
- Texture – When you look at a landscape from afar you may just see a lot of green. When you get up close though you will see differences in the leaves/needles of the plant and how when placed together give an attractive effect and composition. To many people, pines, spruces, and firs are all the same thing. They’re green and they have needles. In all actuality, pines tend to be soft and long needles whereas spruces are generally short needled and hard. Firs might have short needles like a spruce, but tend to be softer like a pine. You get the picture, not all evergreens are created equal. There are also broad leaved evergreens which can add a great deal of texture as well. Hollies have shiny often pointy green leaves and have the added benefit of berries. If you’re lucky enough to find boxwood branches long enough to use, they make a great addition to any holiday pot with their round green leaves. Other great plants to try for their textural qualities are junipers, arborvitaes, and cypress.
- Color – Color can be more difficult when searching for plants to put in your holiday or winter pots. Try for different shades of green as well as shiny versus matte. Don’t forget about blues as well. Blue spruces and certain varieties of juniper give a nice grayish blue that can improve the overall effect as well as help other parts stand out. Red twig dogwood branches are one of the best finds if you can get them. The bright red twigs really set off the whole holiday concept. Fear not if you can’t find any. Go to your local craft store and find something there. In fact, a little added sparkle from a holiday pick can be just the ticket to finishing off your holiday pot. It wouldn’t be a holiday pot without some type of berry to really tie the whole pot together. My absolute favorite is winterberry since it has red berries that are so bright it’s almost hard to believe they are real. Chances are though that you won’t find many winterberry bushes in your yard. Holly berries and crabapples with small fruit can also be used for added dimension.
- Bow and Sparkle – It’s not a holiday pot without a big bow of some sort. I tend to lean towards the traditional bright red, but silver, gold, burgundy, and blue are all great choices. Take the pizazz a step further and add some sparkle. As I mentioned before, your local craft store has a wide range of holiday “picks” that can be added for color or texture. You can find ones with glitter, berries, or leaves to help balance out what you couldn’t find in nature.