Earth Friendly, Natural Outdoor Winter Decorations

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Thrilled to have Dyana Robenalt share some of her awesome expertise in making natural outdoor decorations for winter. She is a Rutgers Master Gardener with 40 years of gardening experience and her specialties include deer resistant plants and native plants to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. She has also served on the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Advisory Council for the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program and is a NJ Learns Fellow graduate from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability. Dyana is the Estate & Enhancement Manager at Statile & Todd in Far Hills, NJ statileandtodd.com.

Winter is here. Now is the time to display colorful outdoor planter arrangements in choice ornamental containers for your porch, patio or entryway. Paying careful attention to design elements such as scale, texture and color, they will delight the senses through the bleak winter months.

These focal points can be inexpensive and eco-friendly using clippings of plant material from your own property. You can repurpose spent perennials and select garden debris that will brighten gloomy winter days and last until spring. Imagine an ornate steel container with red twig dogwood clippings in a bed of blue spruce and a touch of dried hydrangea flowers. These arrangements, simple and elegant, will sparkle with each new blanket of fresh snow.

When the warm weather finally returns, you can continue the green theme by chipping and composting the plantings to create rich soil for your spring beds and borders.

Natural winter arrangement ideas

Start with a sturdy decorative container at least one foot deep that is frost-proof.

Prepare your outdoor pot with drainage material and potting soil as you would for indoor plants.

Carefully choose your clippings for proportion, texture and color. Evergreens such as spruce, juniper or holly make a good bed or background. Branches such as birch, red and yellow twig dogwood, or curly willow can add drama and height. Perennial blossoms that have gone to seed such as astilbe, hosta or grass plumes add textural contrast. Use pine cones, Osage oranges or berries such as winterberry or bittersweet for embellishments.

Additional tips

  • Cut the greens and branches at an angle for easier insertion into the soil and place deep enough to withstand winter winds.
  • Layer evenly from all sides to create a balanced composition.
  • Water immediately and keep hydrated for longevity whenever the soil is not frozen.
  • Freshen up the arrangement periodically by adding or removing items to create a new look.

You are only limited by your imagination to create interesting planters. A rustic or elegant look can be created with varied natural materials. Invite friends to help out or create whimsical pots with the kids. Brighten someone’s day by giving them a handmade gift. Most of all, have fun!

Visit Statile & Todd, Inc. for more great landscaping ideas!

About the author / 

Megan McWilliams (Green Diva Meg)
megan@thegreendivas.com'

(aka Megan McWilliams) is a green living expert and media personality as the producer and host of the Green Divas Radio Show. She has been sharing low-stress ways of living a deeper shade of green for over 20 years. She also produces podcasts and videos for the Green Divas and other clients through the Green Diva Studio.

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1 Comment

  1. janeln@mac.com'
    Jan December 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm -  Reply

    You are so lucky to have Dyana in your area. What beautiful arrangements!!

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