I bet your porch is looking pretty empty right now because the annuals have died, and it’s looking dull and drab. Don’t despair! Winter greens are now available at your local greenhouse and ready to be placed in those pots. You can make a colourful winter porch display for the upcoming season.
What to look for
The greenhouse will have pine, cedar, spruce, balsam, and fir to fill your pots along with decorative items such as red dogwood, curly willow, birch branches, seed pods, and eucalyptus.
How to Get Started
I suggest you reuse the largest pot you used on your porch all summer. Start by removing all the old foliage and roots from the annuals. I do not remove the soil, but just use it as my base for the greens. Some folks do take out the soil and put in huge amounts of oasis to hold the greens in place. Each to his own … whatever works for you.
Most porch pots need only be one or two-sided, meaning you only need to focus on the front rather than all around for your design.
One option is to create the rough shape of a Christmas tree. I start with the tallest bough of pine I can find as a background, then layer other greens down in a waterfall triangular effect to the front of the container. It looks best to allow some soft fir or cedar to fall over the front just a bit to cover the rim of the pot.
Fill in the arrangement by angling your branches kind of sideways in a north, south, east, west kind of shape, so it is not all flat at the front, and vary the textures. Once you have the effect you want, add in red berries, pine cones, squiggles, and a big red bow made from sinamay in the front.
Choose your own look for your winter porch display
Depending on what you choose as decorative items, you can change your look from natural, to festive to modern. Perhaps you would rather go with a theme to match your front door or the style of your home? No problem. You will find every colour and design you can think of at the greenhouses and plenty of ideas online. Check out ideas from reliable bloggers such as Savvy Gardening, or these how-to videos from Heemans, and Parkway Gardens. Or if you can drop by your local greenhouses as they will have ideas and many pre-made containers for sale.
Some garden centres also have container workshops and some will even make a bow for you if you struggle with mastering that task. The important part is to make your container something you and your family like and ideally have it last all winter.
Tip – water your container occasionally (until freeze-up) to keep the greens from drying out prematurely. This will help them last almost until spring.
How about a Gnome as a Winter Porch Display?
Just for fun this year we decided our winter porch display would be a Christmasy green gnome. Here are the steps we followed.
My clever husband cut a 5-gallon pail in half as a base. He used the bottom of the pail and drilled a 2-inch hole and put in a 36-inch piece of wood. Next, he cut a piece of plywood and fastened that in with screws for a more solid base for wind-resistance.
Tip – a wide base that has some weight to it will help avoid a tipsy Gnome.
We used a coat hanger as the head part by attaching it to the stake with a metal fence staple and then pulling it into a head shape. This all sounds difficult but really isn’t.
Next, we got to work with a roll of wire fastening it to the 36-inch piece of wood at the base. Working upwards and around, we fastened small clumps of pine and cedar in little groupings all around the base covering the pail, and then upwards to form a tree shape with the branch stems skyward.
Once we had covered the entire column, we fastened off the wire. Then we made a bulbous nose out of pantihose by stuffing it and tieing it near the top, where it will hang just under the rim of the gnome’s hat.
Next, we added a gnome hat. It’s a toque that’s longer than a regular hat. We then stuffed a pair of red mittens and tied them into the front. This hat and mitts were purchased at the dollar store so it wasn’t a big cost.
All that’s left to do is name our Gnome! This will be our colourful and fun winter porch container, greeting everyone as our friendly ambassador this Christmas season.