Thanks to the positive feedback on my post, Arranging Autumn Indoors, you have all inspired me to blather on about my Christmas decorating–and also to be creative! So, my holiday guests will undoubtedly appreciate your egging me on when they are surrounded by my excesses.
This is the planter I filled yesterday, and below you will find directions in case you want to do something similar in your own home.
To lots of my readers, the steps to do this will be obvious as they are creative, experienced lovers of all things decor and growing. However, for others, take note that it is the easiest thing ever to create a planter like this, and here is how I made mine.
You’ll need: *clippers
*floral foam and / or potting soil
*decorative container with tray to protect the table it will sit on. Mine is about 11 inches or so in diameter.
*also recommended: a water sprayer or product like “Wilt Pruf” to keep your project from drying out
*tall twigs for centre of arrangement
*evergreen boughs (B.C. cedar and pine boughs are classic, beautiful and resilient)
*various cut, preserved and faux floral elements as shown below, such as dried hydrangea, fresh magnolia, fresh eucalyptus, berries or faux berries, embellished pinecones, and so on, per “Theme and Colours”, below
*bulbs such as paperwhites, if you like. This option is possible with the potting soil. Do not bury them, though, or they may rot.
*decorative ribbon, about 2 1/2 inches wide. I prefer a solid colour so as not to detract from the whole or make it “too busy”. The ribbon should be fairly stiff, or else have wired edges.
1. Theme and Colours Take your cues from what you see in the room the arrangement will sit in. I went with the blues and golds in my foyer. This room has cream-coloured trim and beigey floors, so silver would have been flat and cold in here. I have a country house in a fairly casual setting, so I avoided the temptation to get too glitzy in here, battling my inner magpie all the way through the decor store! Finally, while somewhat seduced by gold and white clumps of twigs, I stuck with the red twig dogwood clipped from my yard to pick up the adjacent red dining room walls and oxblood-stained front doors.
2. Insert 2 to 3 blocks of floral foam to hold the stems securely in place. Fill the rest of the container with the potting soil.
3. Start with the tall, central component, in my case the red-twig dogwood. These should be in scale with your ceilings and room size, so that the arrangement has lots of presence, yet does not overwhelm the room. I lay mine all out on the floor first, tallest to smallest, then put them in beginning with the
tallest and working down and around the centre from there. Just spear them in! Clip off awkward bits or pieces that stick out too far.
4. Add taller, spiky components such as my creamy faux berries and fake snowy evergreen branches. Put these close to the centre, near the tall branches, and spread out their twigs fully.
5. Next, add the evergreen boughs. Although I want my arrangement to be beautiful from any angle, it will mainly be viewed approaching from the front door. Therefore, feel free to designate a “good side” of your arrangement and put the taller and larger evergreen boughs at the back as in the photo at right, with the lower, draping ones at front. I used mostly B.C. cedar here, with three or four pieces of the pine evenly spaced above them for contrast.
I considered adding paperwhite bulbs at this stage. They would have gone well with the colour scheme and been fun to watch grow. However, I exercised restraint because I thought it would get too crowded once the hydrangea flowers were in, and didn’t actually think the hydrangeas and paperwhites would complement each other that well.
6. Add delicate dried flowers if you are using them. At this point, you need not necessarily make the stems stick into the soil or floral foam. Just poke them among the other materials, roughly evenly-distributed. Be gentle to avoid crumbling them.
7. Place in actual ornaments or glossy balls. Mine had three different surface finishes, so I tried to balance them around the planter and mix them up in a way that didn’t look overly contrived.
You can also get them pre-attached to stems for poking into the ground in some, but perhaps not all, colour choices. I wanted mine loose.
8. The bow. Bows seem to be all the rage, and I wasn’t sure whether this was overkill at first, but I prefer it with the bow. Bows being so very Christmassy and exciting-looking! I made my bow as follows, but for a much better bow-making discussion, click here.
Lazy person’s bow: decide the length you want the loose ends of your bow to be, with reference to the size of the planter. Leaving one length free (left, in picture) loop the ribbon around in a circle three times (fewer for a more modern effect, perhaps; or more if you are a “more is more” kinda decorator) and cut the opposite loose end to the same extra length as the first. Squeeze the centre of the circle down to meet the spot where the loose ends cross, loop them around the squeezed-down circles and tie!
Just place this into the arrangement as you see fit and jiggle the ends down through the foliage to look natural. Well, if it’s “natural” to find gold metallic bows growing in evergreens, that is.
9. Water well to keep everything from drying out that shouldn’t, especially if you are using broadleaved things like magnolias or eucalyptus. Spritz with water sprayer or “Wilt-Pruf” product per directions. If using water, spritz regularlyto combat the drying effect of indoor heating and to allow your arrangement to last as long as possible.
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