Spreading the cheer outside

Holiday decorating is a slow process at my house. I'm so amazed by all the holiday home tours on the Internet ... I haven't even really thought much about the inside. 

I love doing my outdoor containers though. I leave them decorated (sans lights) almost all winter because I love looking at them.

I take no credit for the design of my containers this year. I was highly inspired by Deborah Silver's amazing winter container designs. My execution is not nearly as nice as hers, but I think I like how they turned out more than most years. The secret is a tip from Deborah herself. Last week she did a little series on her blog about the construction of her winter containers. One tip I knew already: zip tie the branches to a main stake to make them easier to install as well as stay in a nice little bunch.

The other one I learned this year. One word: Styrofoam. Turns out that's what Deborah Silver uses to get those full "skirts" of evergreen boughs. Styrofoam is crazy expensive though, so over the course of a couple of weeks and lot of trips to Michael's and Joann's with 50% off coupons, I finally had enough and jammed it in all my pots. It is so much easier to stick stuff into foam than it is to try to chip away at half-frozen dirt.

I also added silver dollar eucalyptus. I had to order it in bulk online but I'm glad I did. I quite like the effect and it seems to be holding up great outside. We got a bit of snow yesterday to make everything look extra festive.




The window box looks like it might need a little trimming on some of the white pine. There are some lights in it and then I jammed a bunch of lights at the base of the branches for a nice glowy effect. 


I love how it looks from inside at night.


I think I'm going to add a few branches to the inside of the topiary type form on the big container. I just feel like it's lack in color during the day.


It does look pretty great at night though.



Of course there are parts of the garden that look pretty great all on their own too. This is why I always leave all the flowerheads on the hydrangeas in winter. It adds so much texture to the garden.




15 comments :

  1. Okay, after looking at these I have decided that my outside planters look like absolute crap. I am headed outside to set them on fire.

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    1. Don't be silly, Katie. Your containers were great and I especially love your reindeer!

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  2. They look gorgeous. And I love the idea of the styrofoam - next year, I'll start saving the foam from packaging to use in my urns. My friend (and now I) use foam insulation - it has lots of air to allow for easy access when sticking the things into the container. And you have tons of snow!!

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  3. I too have been following Deborah's online decorating. It's truly amazing! Your pots are also very beautiful!! I think she would be proud :) I especially like the window boxes. I would love to have that to look out at. Very, very pretty!! Good job! And I think I will start collecting styrofoam all year since I read this post.

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  4. This is absolutely inspiring, Erin! I never do winter containers, because I try not to go outside in the winter and we live out in the country, so who would see them anyway? But when you can see them from inside, well that's pretty special. Loved this post!

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    1. We live out in the country, too, Kylee. I'm not sure whoever sees my containers other than the very few people who stop by during the holidays, but I absolutely love coming home to them all lit at night.

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  5. Such lovely containers. If it wasn't so cold here, I might be inspired to go out and cut some red twigged dogwood myself-they're in need of some pruning. The dried plants I left in my summer containers are looking a bit more pathetic now, though I also enjoy the leaving the seedheads in the garden to gather the winter snow.
    Thanks for directing us to Deborah's blog. And thanks for sharing the holiday cheer!

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    1. Thanks for the nice comments Sue! I did make sure to do my dogwood pruning before a brutal cold snap hit!

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  6. Dear Erin, I think your pots look great-bravo! I am a little puzzled about your discussion of the cost of the foam. Urethane styrofoam is expensive. But I use dry floral foam-also known as John Henry. It is usually used for dry floral arrangements. This foam will produce forms that will be good for up to four years. Packing styrofoam will fall apart or break in an instant. We buy our floral foam in 24 by 36 inch sheets, as it is the economical. But I really didn't mean to write about foam. I meant to write about how lovely your winter pots are. Well done! Deborah

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    1. Deborah, I can't tell you what it means to me that you stopped by to look at my work. As for the foam, I can only say that I have yet to find a good source. I bought some green styrofoam, I suppose it's meant for faux floral arrangements or something and that was not nearly as nice as the desert foam I got. I am making it my mission to find the nice big sheets of floral foam you mention! Thank you again for stopping by.

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  7. They look fabulous! I was wondering how Deborah's concepts would work for the ave. homeowner and you've proven the value of her ideas. I am so amazed at the level of design her team does over and over no matter the season. Don't trim the pine boughs; they look so romantic draping down and what a view from the inside. (How nice Deborah commented and gave you another tip, too!)

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I know you share my admiration for Deborah's work so I'm thrilled that you think I did a good job translating her ideas to my containers.

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  8. Nice job, Erin! I especially like the windowbox view from inside the kitchen.

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