Early Black Friday morning, I was chucking pumpkins in the trash as hurriedly as possible. Forget the oranges and browns, it’s now time for glitter and gold! My inner Buddy the Elf came out and I was drinking syrup by the cup full while listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas.” Just kidding. Sort of. But that song is seriously the best Christmas tune of all time.
Anyway, back to the subject.
One of my favorite ways to decorate for the holidays is to make seasonal planters where my mums once died, I mean resided. It’s an easy project, takes minimal amount of time and the fresh smells of pine and evergreen put everyone in a festive spirit.
Follow along for a step-by-step guide so that you too can adorn your porch with some beautiful yet simple decor.
First step was to make a trip to our local nursery. You, by all means, can use fake greenery but I really think it’s more beautiful to use the real stuff. I budgeted about $12/planter for four planters total, and I came in slightly under. Once there, I grabbed a few different kinds of firs and evergreens. It’s important to pick ones that are slightly different in shape and texture. For instance, the base and height of your planters will come from taller pines, and you will fill in with more wispy greenery, or even berries so they may drape over the side of the pots.
Pro Tip: a great way to make this extremely affordable is to “borrow” from evergreens around your home or neighborhood and then purchase the filler items like berries or ornaments firs from the nursery.
In order to begin placing greenery, you will first need to prep planters. Soaked floral foam is also an option, as it will nicely hold plants in place. I used potting soil, mostly because I was out of floral foam, but also because it provides more nutrients for the plants and I believe keeps them prettier, longer. If using soil, fill planters to almost the very top, leaving just a few inches of space.
Once soil or foam is placed, you can now begin placing greenery. Start with the tallest sprigs and push in to the middle of the planter. This creates the base of the arrangement, and provides a guideline to place all other plants. Some sprigs may need to be trimmed if little branches seem too wild or out of balance. It is by no means a science! It comes down to personal aesthetic.
Continue placing large to medium sized sprigs in and around your starting plants. Also note, many of the evergreens are two-sided in terms of color. Use the different sides to achieve depth and interest.
Keep placing until 2/3 of your pot is full with medium and large sprigs. The planter might look wild at this point, but no worries, once the smaller plants are placed it will all come together! It is immensely helpful to step back once in a while to look at the balance of the pot and see where adjustments might be needed.
With the base of the planters complete, you can now move on to the smaller fillers. I would recommend clipping sprigs, as seen below. You will want to trim sprigs off the lower part of the stem so that you may bury the stem deeper in to the soil. It is also helpful to simply use individual twigs to avoid having huge clumps of one type of filler. It’s more pleasing to the eye if there are more individual fillers, placed strategically, than a huge clump sticking out of one side.
Once clipped, begin placing the more upright greenery toward the middle, front part of planter. Berries and wispier firs can be inserted to the left and right so they fall over the sides.
If you’ll notice in the first pictures, I also purchased ornamental white berry-looking accents. It’s nice to have a way to break up all of the green. White is a great accent that really pops against the natural elements. Spray painted pinecones can achieve the same effect as well. I also picked up a pre-made sprig at Michael’s, on sale for less than $5. Normally, I would use this inside for my Christmas tree, but instead I decided to stick it in the smaller pots to balance the white berries in the larger planters. Not only is it a pretty accent, it also allows for the use of less greenery. The accent items will want to be toward the middle of the pot, in front of the medium and large sprigs, otherwise it tends to get lost.
Now that all items are placed, this is when I arrange on my porch, step back to the curb and look for any tweaks that may be needed. Take any remaining clippings and use to balance all of the pots in terms of fullness and height.
There you have it. 30 minutes of work. $10 per planter. Last year mine lasted until February!!! Simply spritz once a week or so, and no other maintenance is needed.
Happy holidays and happy planting!