}

November 22, 2010

Preparing Outdoor Containers for Holiday Greens.

NOT ALL HOLLY IS RED, THIS PATENTED CULTIVAR OF MERSERVE HOLLY, ILEX X MESERVEAE  'MESGOLG''GOLDEN GIRL®' LOOKS AN ENGLISH HOLLY BUT WITH BRIGHT YELLOW BERRIES. DON'T YOU LOVE IT? IT WAS INTRODUCED IN 1990, AND HAS GREAT FORM. RED FOTHERGILLA FOLIAGE IN THE BACK IS ALSO CUT FOR DISPLAY, THE FOLIAGE IS BRIGHT AND  LONG LASTING. ONCE IT DROPS, THE BRANCHES ARE EQUALLY ATTRACTIVE.

Next weekend, during my Thanksgiving, as I watch neighbors drag out their plastic deer and inflatable giant snow globes between football games and turkey, I usually like to pick greens and branches, and other wild or cultivated plant material which I will use to fill outdoor garden containers that can handle the heavy winter conditions we get here in New England.

There are many containers that remain outdoors here, they may be empty stone troughs or cast concrete containers, or cast iron urns. Without spending a dollar, I can fill each of them with a unique motif appropriate for the season. 
THIS CAST IRON URN IS TYPICALLY PLANTED WITH ANNUALS FOR SUMMER DISPLAY, BUT FOR WINTER, I FILL IT WITH GREENS GATHERED FROM THE GARDEN. WITHIN A WEEK, THE SOIL INSIDE WILL BE FROZEN, SO PREPARING OUTDOOR CONTAINERS BEFORE SOIL FREEZES IS HELPFUL. 

I start with foundational greens, which might be anything, since this is random pruning, quick snips from various shrubs and evergreen trees which I either feel have nice, structural branches, or have evergreen colors that are different and unique. If I wanted to fuss, and plant some of these containers, ( and I will later on), then I would plant and design the result, but for most of these containers, which are in odd places around the property, such as this large steel urn near the door of the greenhouse, few people ever see except us and the dogs, so this is more an an exercise in hiding the soil in the pot, than it is in creating a stunning photo prop. I completed this speedy arrangement with some purple kale, and som bundles of fall foliage which will only last a week, if that, but will add that touch of autumn that the dogs will enjoy as they go out to pee. I know, we are crazy. Indulgent deco.
FOR THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY SEASON, I'VE LIMITED THE PALETTE TO YELLOW ILEX (HOLLY), PINES, CEDAR AND PURPLE KALE AS WELL AS SOME AUTUMN FOLIAGE FOR A TEMPORARY TOUCH OF COLOR. RED BERRIES AND BARE SILVER BRANCHES WILL BE ADDED NEXT WEEKEND. THE COLORED FOLIAGE ONLY NEEDS TO LAST A FEW DAYS.

 Now, I'm off to pick our native Winter Berry, or Ilex verticillata before the heavier frost arrives tonight. These I will keep in bundles outdoors until temperatures drop well below freezing, which will cause them to turn brown. I can keep bundles on the back porch or even in the greenhouse until I need them for Holiday decorations in a week or two.


CHRISTMAS IS COMING! ILEX VERTICILATA CUT FROM THEM GARDEN HEDGES IN PREP FOR HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS LATER IN THE MONTH. 

CAMELLIA ' SHIBORI EGAO'

The Japanese cultivar, 'Shibori Egao' has bicolored petals that can sometimes produce flowers which are entirely white, or completely pink. The best, however, are those which open in this bicolored pattern. While we in the west prepare for what designers tell us are iconic autumnal decorative elements such as squash, pumpkins, gourds, turkeys and such, other northern hemisphere cultures enjoy a broader celebration of nature, which yes, includes pink, rose, red and dare I say Blue Pheasants?

2 comments :

  1. love your ilex berries and that urn filled with all the greens are so nice too.

    Happy Thanksgiving Matt!

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  2. Blue Pheasants? hummm, new to me-love the yellow Ilex, there is a great golden yellow winterberry that blushes a bit, lost it's tag, I think it came from Forest Farm, love it! Your winter arrangements are fab, especially the purple Kale and gold Ilex,so great-I gravitate towards complimentary color combinations, thanks for sharing!

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