Festive Welcomes

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Story and photos by Sara Antin / GardenStyle

With the holiday season upon us and guests coming and going from our homes, what better way to say Welcome than with a cheery entryway dressed with festive outdoor planters. Using a little help from Mother Nature, your local nursery or craft store and local garden expert, Sara Antin owner of GardenStyle with Sara Antin it’s easy to create a beautiful arrangement.

To get started, let’s look at popular plants and elements to include in your arrangements. Conifers such as Pine, Cedar and Spruce or Evergreen trees and shrubs such as Magnolia, Eucalyptus, Boxwood, and Holly can be your core item. Add in colorful berries for a pop of color – reds, yellows even purples show well. For height, bright colored branches such as White Birch, Red Twig Dogwood and Yellow Twig Dogwood will add dimension to your planter. Get festive and add in ribbons or even realistic looking red cardinals. For your planter, get creative. Faux stone stands up to our freezing temperatures or a vintage milk jug can add a touch of country to the arrangement.

“When starting Winter pots, I like to use the existing containers you already have,” shared Antin. “Simply cut at the root anything that has been planted in the container rather than removing. I find this serves as the perfect base in which to place sticks and twigs as the roots hold things so well.”

If you’ve waited a bit too long and your soil is frozen and too hard to jab your twig into the soil, slowly pouring warm water onto the soil does the trick to loosen up the dirt. Now you have a bare pot ready to be dressed for Winter.

Sitting a wreath on the pot provides a lush green base to which to build upon. To secure the wreath in place, Antin gives the hint of adding twigs to the center of the arrangement. “Cut a few smaller twigs to pierce through the wreath, which will help secure the wreath even more,” she shared. “I like to add pinecones and a few sprigs of fresh greens. Outdoor lit twigs add a dramatic touch, while ornaments can add color and character.”


Layer within the pot starting with your greenery and layer from largest to smallest decorative items. Here I used sugar pinecones and the fresh greenery in combination with the faux adds a richness.


Winterberry adds a dramatic pop of color. Look for plastic, as Styrofoam types tend to explode when they get wet and look sad very quickly. After Christmas, the ornaments can be replaced with something that says Winter.


For those of us who want a one and done that will last into Spring. Greenery. Twigs. Pinecones. Classic. Gorgeous. Cannot go wrong!


Flocked pieces really speak of Winter and pre-flocked pieces stand up to the weather better than do-it-yourself sprays. For the draping, add fresh silver eucalyptus. It’s gorgeous and complements silvers and whites.


I adore the look of large wire or iron globes in a pot. Just wire onto the items used at the base of your pot. Placing birch poles in it adds such elegance!


The lit twigs add a decided festive tone that can be unplugged after the holidays, so no one thinks your holiday decor has outstayed its welcome.


This pot adapts easily when the Holidays are over by pulling off the ornaments and it’s ready for the remainder of the Winter.

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