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Dec. 3, 2021 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Growing Together: Release your inner creative self and decorate with fresh greens
Decorate creatively with fresh greens. (Joanne Young)

Can you believe it's only four weeks until Christmas?

There I said it – now, let the panic begin.

Hopefully, you are not feeling panicked at all. It’s been another tough year, but we do have a lot to be grateful for.

Instead of “panic” I should have said, “Let the decorating begin.” Now that our gardens are going dormant for the year, we still can have exciting containers and decorations to adorn our homes.

I love using fresh greenery to create planters, wreaths, swags and garlands that will help to herald in the season and will last well into the winter. Even if Christmas isn’t your thing, consider it a winter planter – no sparkles necessary. There is no need for your home to look drab during the cold months of the year.

One could go wild on websites like Pinterest, getting inspired ideas of how to decorate the outside of your house. Many area garden centres offer workshops at this time of year where you can learn how to make your own Christmas planter or for those non-DIYers, you can purchase a premade one or have one custom made.

No matter on your style type, whether contemporary, classic or rustic, a winter planter can be that accent to convey your style to guests.

Here are some things to consider before you make yourself a planter or purchase one at a garden centre:

Think about where you will be placing the planter. How much space do you have? If you have a small front entrance make sure that your planter is proportional.

Placing a large arrangement in that small space will overwhelm the area and make it difficult to manoeuvre around it.

On the other hand, if you have a larger entrance and you place a small planter in that space, it will look lost and have no real impact. If your planter is going to be sitting up against a wall or fence and you will only be seeing one side of it, you may want to consider going with a flat-black arrangement.

If you are going to be viewing the planter from more than one side, a round arrangement will look best. Do you need a pair of planters to draw the eye into your doorway?

What's your style? A planter can portray the style of the outside of your home or reflect how the interior of your home is decorated. For example, for a contemporary look, choose just three or four different evergreens and arrange them in denser groups with simple lines.

If you enjoy a more natural look, you can achieve it by using the basic evergreens along with natural cones and seed pods. If you are the sparkle/glitter type, you can find all sorts of baubles and shiny accents to give you that effect as well.

Make sure the greenery is fresh. When you are buying bundles of greenery or a premade arrangement check to see if the greens are feeling fresh. If you run your hand along a few stems and a number of needles just drop off, it's a good indicator the evergreen cuttings are already drying out and will not last very long.

The most used evergreens used for Christmas planters are: cedar, white pine, douglas and balsam fir, evergreen magnolia, boxwood and blue berry juniper. A variety of greens will provide you with a colour contrast as well as a contrast of textures.

Any outdoor arrangements should be made in soil. Making a planter in soil, as opposed to a floral oasis, will hold your stems in place throughout the winter. After you have made or brought home your planter make sure you water it about every three or four days until the soil has frozen solid. Once that happens, the stems will be held firmly in place all winter.

Consider collecting from your garden. Take a minute to look around your garden and see if there is anything you can use with your holiday decorating. Do you have any evergreens that you can take cuttings of? Do you have any dried flowers or seed heads such as hydrangeas and sedums?

Shrubs with colourful branches like red twig dogwood can also give additional colour to your planters.

So, let the winter decorating begin! It is time to release your inner creative self.

Joanne Young is a Niagara-on-the-Lake garden expert and coach. See her website at joanneyoung.ca.

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