December 4, 2017

Winter Containers

Winter Containers, 2017

Tis the season that arrives quickly with high demand and temperamental weather. Off we go, decorating local pots, window boxes, fences, benches, light posts..

Here are some of our examples and at the end a quick demo.

My perimeters.......
- Go big & full, greens will diminish as time passes, go back & add more fillers
- Relate your composition to your home, picking up styles & colors
- Finish with a spray of an Anti-dessicant, 'Wilt-Pruf' is one such brand
Simple & Easy
With a nod to the woodlands nearby, this is as easy as it comes. A boxwood wreath is laid across the opening while many bundles of birch twig is inserted. This composition will last until Spring...viola!
Big Red
Our clients request for these massive containers was for a predominantly red display. Red twig dogwood and faux plastic berry stems. A variety of foliage completes the look

Red Berry's
The center is filled with red plastic berry stems, never the coated styrofoam variety as they will pop and resemble popcorn. These can be re-used for years while providing all season long color. 

Here is a close up of some of the faux berries we use. Bent up, down, sideways..I think they look real!
How about these berries?! Beautiful hue of blue
Ornamental cabbage left in place while building around it, as the focal point, with seeded eucalyptus, blue fir and strips of birch skins 
On this massive property some of the urns are in the distance. Our solution is to fill these with vivid color; yellow twig dogwood and red faux berries
Same here with white painted birch sticks
 Sticks, eucalyptus, coned cedar. This is a good example of the container adage;
Filler (eucalyptus).   Thriller (sticks).   Spiller (cedar)

The red brought forward in the containers makes for a coehisive scenario.
But we were met with a problem........
Here is what we came to, dead topiaries. The problem is that we were running out of materials to provide height, and our suppliers were out. However I embrace problems as they usually provide interesting solutions we would never have thought of.
Left in place, the topiary stem and head were embellished. 
First thought was winding cedar garland around the stem with extra on top, left to drape down and wired heavily. Boxwood was inserted at the top and wired
Phew, it worked! What do you think?
Topped with a felt bow. Yes felt! We use silk, taffeta, real velvet and satin. Many of which can be used year after year

For an outdoor wreath

The request was understated, woodland

Massive, the composition is probably 3-4' wide.
Think too about adorning objects outdoors, maybe something that can be viewed from inside your home

TUTORIAL........ Every year we participate in the Geneva, Illinois, Christmas event. Five designers in town decorate a home for the 
Christmas House Walk (next post to follow) Below is the design I created for this gorgeous home's front courtyard
  We brought in extra large fiberglass pots in a bronze finish to compliment the tones of the home..
Begin with the fillers, in this case Spruce

 Followed by Douglas fir which has a beautiful blue toned underside. Insert straight up & down, and sideways to provide some drape
 Three old tobacco sticks are inserted in triangle fashion to add height. A bundle of birch logs, lashed together with wire are added front center
Insert here and there RED HUCK and OREGANO stems. the red/yellow of the huck and the green white variegation of the oregano is a nice contrast and adds POP
 Securing the logs.....I cut a piece of long needle pine garland to wrap, stood back and pulled it off, it added nothing. The fun of these creations is the ability to stand back, access your work and adjust.
Pull out, re-insert, eliminate, it's easy, just learn to trust your eye.
 Twine, that did it, liked much better, added texture and dimension.
 The rope was left long to add hard plastic (will not freeze) pine cones. This look provides movement
 Feathers & magnolia leaves in the center to keep this as the focal point

Another week to go, and the temps are dipping, yikes!

 On another note......
     As much as I promise myself that I will become more consistent with blogging, it just does not happen! One place you can find me is on INSTAGRAM.  HERE

    I have been creating, and having great fun, with a series I call SOUL STYLE, a wordless color series of images that speak to me. HERE is an example
. If you wish to be included send me your email address and I will add you

                                             With love,
and many thanks to our team.....with the help of
Kim Fuller. and. Gerrit Husar.....a budding genius!


  1. I LOVE your winter containers and used your tutorial from last year to do mine! All so beautiful, my friend! Happy Tuesday ~

  2. IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I think the PROBLEM DEAD TOPIARY is MY FAVORITE!They are ALL SO GLORIOUS......................YOU are a BUSY BUSY WOMEN!We will forgive YOU for MISSING IN ACTION from THE BLOGSHPERE!
    This was just what I needed to get MYSELF INTO GAME ON!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. This is a post I look forward to each year. I love the blue berries you used in the one arrangement. Great work as always. I'm happy to follow you on IG. It's user friendly for this busy time of year.
    Happy holiday season, my friend!


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