I finally got my front planters decorated for the holidays. As with all my projects, my hesitation and delay had less to do with time and more to do with the inevitable battle between “should” and “want”.
As in, I should keep the decor in theme with the country casual setting of the house, versus: I want!!!! that glittery bow and those gilded leaves, those sequined pinecones and that pavee fake bird!
I cleaned out my planters from Autumn (below), leaving any bulbs intact. I don’t baby the bulbs or worry about stabbing them with the end of a dogwood branch, because they consist mainly of tough, prolific white lilies which are virtually indestructible. Although I don’t know what the effect of pouring hot tap water on the frozen soil last week will be . . . .
I also left the brilliant purple autumn cabbage and the variegated ivy which I will clip back when they are ruined by the inevitable return of true Ontario winter weather.
Then I added long branches of red twig dogwood from my property, to give the planter height and presence. Here I have a debate with myself every year, as I am always tempted by GOLD!! and GLITTER!! and SNOWY WHITE!! But the correct, best look for my home is that of the deep red twigs that grow on my property, so I restrained myself. Sigh.
I re-use the same set of white birch lengths from year to year, and they remain intact until the end of the bloom season of spring bulbs, as you can see in this post from last spring.
Rather than my usual mix of evergreen cuttings from my property, this year I purchased B.C. Cedar and pine boughs. I also picked up magnolia leaves for that incomparable, rich, bronzey hit they give to any winter decorating, indoor or out, and urban or country! Then I chose dark faux berries because the fresh ones in my yard are too orangey with the doors and ribbon I use on my wreaths.
The process of putting the planter together is essentially the same as that for indoor planters, beginning with the tall and central elements as in Picture 1, above.
After carrying around painted dark red pinecones, and glittery gold ones, in the decor store, I realized that natural pinecones frosted with permanent faux snow would fit in best, They were very large, which is in scale with what is necessary here, and come attached to sticks for easy insertion into your pot. Scale is very important in designing your planters.
Although counter-intuitive, I am thrilled with the contrast and excitement added by the unique pinky-purple of the autumn cabbage and will be sad to see it go.
Restraint was thrown to the wind when I was forced (by myself) to add these loud ‘n proud gold shimmer red velvet bows. After much debate (with my cat, if you must know), I felt that the entry is formal enough to require this reference to glamour, in spite of the other rustic influences. Also, when you open the door you will be greeted by my indoor planter with glitzy, all-gold bows, and I am nothing if not compulsively obsessed with continuity and co-ordination!
This particular ribbon is traditional enough to have the right balance. According to me, at least.
Something was missing. It is all well and good to have a lovely pot of plant life, but I like to add something else that both smacks of the surroundings and adds more life than mere foliage and bows. I found these two fat, burgundy bird ornaments to reference the winter birds that are so prolific in the neighborhood. They actually replace tiny, bedraggled white ones that I am retiring to my green and white sunroom for the season.
These birds hang, but clip-on ones are available and would also work well–probably better because it would be harder for them to turn their backs on you while you are taking pictures of them 🙂
What do you think: did casual or Hollywood win out?
What is your favourite element to put in your fall planters? Have you made yours yet? Post a link to your pictures, if you have put them on your blog!
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