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I’m a late Christmas decorator. At least it seems late, since I usually finish it up a couple weeks before Christmas, which is apparently late these days. But I like to take advantage of milder weather to do my outdoor containers, which is easily my favorite holiday project.

I’m busy gathering materials now. I picked up some $6 wreaths at Home Depot on Black Friday. They look like $6 wreaths, which is to say rather plain and uninspired, but by the time I’m done filling them out with other greens and nice bows, you’ll never know. I also cut a mound of red twig dogwood over the weekend and I’m hoping to score the branch cut-offs from people’s Christmas trees at a few places like I did last year.
Deborah Silver photo

As usual, the best place for inspiration when it comes to holiday containers is Deborah Silver’s blog, and this year she treated her readers with step-by-step articles on how those works of art come to life. I’ve been using foam to stick branches in for a couple years now and it makes such a difference, and not just because the soil in a lot of containers is frozen already. I highly recommend spending a little extra to get foam for containers.
The crew at Detroit Garden Works creating the bases for winter containers. Deborah Silver photo

Here are Deborah’s tips:

Deborah Silver photo
Of course, having a big building to do all the main work in (along with a lot of helpers) would certainly make this process easier, but one must make due with what they have.
Bleached pinecones on garland. Deborah Silver photo
I’m also loving bleached pinecones (Deborah uses some on her amazing garlands), so I’ll be following this tutorial on how to do that. 
I don’t have a real vision on exactly what I want to do this year, inside or out, but maybe that will make it more fun. The plan is to finish up the outside this weekend.
Do you decorate outside as well as inside?

7 Responses

  1. I love Deborah Silver's blog- her photographs are so beautiful and even if I don't create something of that scale, I just love to look and read what she is thinking. She does such a great job of conveying the magic of gardening.

  2. Just started indoors and am trying to buy nothing new and to be more restrained and less obviously Christmassy. Usually do a wreath outside but think I will take an indoor pinecone swag and see if I can put it on the 3-seat bench by the front door where I hope it will be safe from the weather. Aren't Deborah's staff amazingly talented?!

  3. I'll just drag out the same artificial wreath and hang it on my front door as usual…. I suppose the idea of holiday pots could be done in a simplified way with materials found at home (not the "spend thousands of dollars to hire a designer to make huge outdoor arrangements" way). Perhaps I'll look around and see what I can come up with…. Thanks for the ideas. -Beth

    1. Dear Beth, I am a garden designer who would not be able to survive without clients. But I have also been writing my blog Dirt Simple since 2009 with the express purpose of explaining my process in great detail-so gardeners have a method to make containers themselves in every season. I don't think anyone should or has to do without the pleasure and satisfaction planting containers bring to a gardener. Go for it! all the best, Deborah

  4. I knew what this was by the title alone! I want a big workshop like that! So inspiring! I love making wreaths and go nuts with indoor decor. Trying to tone it down though and spend more time sitting enjoying them than making them.

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