Monday, December 26, 2011

Winter Porch Pots --- Greenery Containers

Winter porch pots or containers filled with greenery provide warm color and inexpensive style during cold winter months.

Cities like New York and Chicago dress open urns and sidewalk esplanades in winter greens, branches and a variety of natural materials.  Dried hydrangea, sedum, dogwood, ivy, nut buds, birds nests, pinecones, pine needles, or anything else interesting can duplicate the look at home. The dressed up container adds warmth and sophistication, with little effort and no cost.

Bill and I arrived late one night in Chicago on our way to a family wedding.  City workers systematically dislodged summer annuals from the borders along Michigan Avenue and replaced them with full blooms.  By morning it was as if the mums had sprouted overnight.  The effect was more than aesthetic.  Likened to a pair of newly polished shoes, the winter arrangements show warmth and attention to detail.

The same result can be achieved at the porch level--where the day begins and ends.  Evergreen  and boxwood branches, twigs, flowering shrub branches and any plant whose stems don't deteriorate in the cold are candidates.  Leave out the pots, or fill other garden adornments such as wall planters or windowboxes.

Time to repurpose the Christmas tree, bough or wreath. For those who don't celebrate, or stick with artificial, there's plenty of candidates at the curb.  Good thing it gets dark early. 

Using a base of soil, possibly left from the previous annual occupant, it's critical to create these pots before the ground freezes solid.  Start at the center with taller pieces of greenery.  Don't skimp, the pot needs to be quite  full.  Then plant the branches, dried flowerheads, or anything else interesting.  Wreaths can be dissasembled and used, or simply frame the pot, anchoring the inserted branches.  Boughs can be disassembled or draped along a windowbox.  The branches of a discarded tree will fill pots to overflowing.

For holidays, small adornments may be included.  If ambitious, add elegant prelit twigs.

Best part's no maintenance, no cutting back and zero plucking of spent blooms.  Snow simply adds to the interest.

When warmer weather returns, a quick trip to the compost heap, and the pots are ready to spring to action. Bright pansies tucked into the winter porch pot makes for a welcome transisiton. 

Beats lugging them into the shed.

Define your home, define your personality.  Add a few tools of your trade so those who approach get a preview of who lives inside. 


More Articles of Interest:
Planting Windowboxes -- No pane no gain

Container Gardens -- Pots on the Spot

Gnomes Get Kids Gardening