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MELINDA MYERS: Dress Up Your Landscape with Winter-Inspired Container Gardens

Clear out your fall containers and make room for some winter greenery.  These planters are sure to brighten those dreary winter days and add life to your landscape.

Transform weatherproof summer and fall containers for winter. Fiberglass, plastic, cement and wood will hold up to the cold, ice and snow.  Don’t subject terra cotta and glazed pots to the harsh elements that can cause them to crack.  Remove faded fall flowers and add a bit of potting mix to fill the container within two inches of the top.  Or select a new weatherproof container and fill it with potting mix.

Consider your overall landscape design and other outdoor winter decorations when creating or purchasing a holiday planter. Place a couple of winter planters on your front steps or dress up your patio, deck or balcony and enjoy the view from the comfort of your home.  Don’t overlook those hanging baskets. Fill them with winter greenery to elevate your winter containers to a fun new level.

Fresh-cut needled evergreens like spruce, white pine, fir and broadleaf evergreen boxwood and holly combine nicely to form the backbone of your container design. Make it easy by using spruce tips to create vertical interest in a container. You only need to set a few in the center of the pot to look like a pro.  Surround these with graceful white pine boughs to anchor the arrangement to the container.

Add sprigs of other evergreens for additional texture and shades of green. Next, it’s time to put your creativity to work.  For those that prefer a natural look, consider white birch branches and stems of red twig dogwood, corkscrew willow or contorted hazelnut. Add a bit more color with berry laden winter holly branches and dried seed rudbeckias, allium, and coneflower seed heads or hydrangea flowers. Finish off your arrangement with a few evergreen cones and a bow.

Or add a bit of glitz with painted and glittered cones, twigs, ornaments, or other holiday adornments.  You can purchase these or create your own with a bit of paint and glitter. Just make sure your materials will hold up to the winter weather.

Once your arrangement is complete, water thoroughly. The moist soil helps keep greenery fresh and in place. Once the soil is frozen you can stop watering. The cold weather will help keep your greens looking good throughout the holidays and beyond.

Extend the life of your greenery with an organic biodegradable antitranspirant. These materials help seal in the moisture, delaying the browning of cut greens. Always read and follow label directions carefully. Most need to be applied to evergreen boughs outdoors and allowed to dry before bringing it indoors or beginning your arrangement.

For additional ideas and a bit of inspiration, watch my Create Beautiful Outdoor Evergreen Containers video.  You will find more ways to enhance your landscape with winter containers.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook and Small Space Gardening.

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