Melissa demonstrated how easy it was to throw together a smattering of clippings from the garden into a pot and make a stunning indoor or outdoor centrepiece. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)

Melissa demonstrated how easy it was to throw together a smattering of clippings from the garden into a pot and make a stunning indoor or outdoor centrepiece. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)

LANGLEY GREEN THUMB: Tips for dressing up the outdoors this winter

Deflect some of the more textured or colourful clippings into a planter and create a focal point

By Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times

Christmas and the New Year are rapidly approaching, so everyone has been busy with decorating the tree and their homes.

The gardens are mostly asleep for a while, except for a few flowering winter shrubs and interesting berries.

But it is also pruning time, and an excellent opportunity to create a few planters for decoration outside – just enough to brighten up the front door, the driveway, or absolutely anywhere you want to breathe a little life into.

I had a couple of empty pots after the season, so we just filled them with soil (doesn’t matter what kind – just something to hold the greenery in place).

I like to start with a little structure in the centre of the planter, such as large branches from something with interesting bark – birch is a great example.

RECENT COLUMN: Fall work ongoing in the garden

Keeping in mind to design in odd numbers, place three branches in your pot at varying heights. Push them into the soil – I like to put mine in the centre-back section of the container.

Then I start to place the larger greenery, such as cedar, cypress, fir, spruce – whatever you happen to have around.

Push the stems into the soil on an angle towards the centre, as this will make them drape over the sides.

Repeat until you cannot see the top of the container.

Then I like to add some colour – branches with berries such as holly, cotoneaster, etc – and some dried flowers like hydrangea and sedums.

You can also embellish with fern fronds, red dogwood stems, and pretty much anything else you can find in the garden clippings that look interesting.

I finish mine off with a ribbon tied to the wider branches I placed in first.

ANOTHER RECENT COLUMN: What a great month for cleaning and planting

This type of arrangement will last pretty much until February if it is sitting outside.

We keep ours on the driveway to brighten it up.

You can also create centerpieces and wreaths for your home in the same way – using shallow plastic and oasis for the centerpieces and wire rings for the wreaths.

Remember, when making indoor arrangements, to water every day to keep them looking fresh – hence the oasis.

So don’t look at all those pruning clippings as just refuse for the compost pile or recycling bin – use them to create something special this year.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year!

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– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club

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Instead of putting everything into the compost bin, how about turning some of this winter’s textured and colourful clippings on display. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)

Instead of putting everything into the compost bin, how about turning some of this winter’s textured and colourful clippings on display. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)

Jessica created a centrepiece out of clippings from the garden. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)

Jessica created a centrepiece out of clippings from the garden. (Pam Erikson/Special to Black Press Media)