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Outdoor planters offer winter long beauty

By Shannon Gage W

ith the cold weather upon us, it is easy to neglect the outdoor spaces that we enjoy so much in the summer. This

year why not compliment your festive indoor atmosphere with simple seasonal decor projects for the outside of your home too? Decorate your front porch with elegant containers, widow boxes and baskets full of fresh winter greens; they add a sense of cheer that will last all winter long. There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh

cedar, pine and fir to warm the cockles of the heart and boost your spirits. With the garden- ing season over we are left with many empty planters, pots and hanging baskets. Instead of packing them away why not fill them with fresh- ly cut cedar, balsam and pine branches accented with red and yellow dogwood or birch limbs? Many local garden centres are happy to help by providing you with ideas and even classes on designing winter planters. Several also offer a large array of fresh and synthetic greens, orna- ments and festive picks to choose from. So why not get creative this year and have your guests greeted by your own stunning outdoor arrange- ments? When I was a child garden centres didn’t offer

Mix textures and colours to create a captivating planter.

Great boughs to use for containers:

Incense cedar Nobel fir White pine Fraser fir

Red osier dogwood stems Curly willow Boxwood

Seeded eucalyptus Pine cones Birch limbs Magnolia tips

10 • Beautiful Gardens 2014

these services. Instead, I would go out to “cabin country” with my dad to collect pinecones, spruce branches, pine boughs and red osier dogwood stems to make fresh wreaths and pots. I have wonderful memories of these missions. We’d dress warmly, equipped with a thermos of hot chocolate, and head out to bring home some of Mother Nature’s bounty. When creating an outdoor container be sure

to use several different types of branches. Pick boughs that will add different hues of green and contrasting textures, the more the merrier! Pick up enough to create indoor baskets, for an arrangement on the fireplace mantle or as a centre-piece for the dining room and you can enjoy the wonderful scent of balsam fir or pine indoors. Here are some easy pointers for making your

own arrangements. Any type of container will work; however, I

don’t recommend using terracotta as it can crack from the cold. If terracotta is all you have, try making your arrangement in a plastic pot that will fit inside of it, that way the freezing soil is

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