Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Winterizing Your Outdoor Pots

The mild weather has made it perfect for getting my outdoor pots and containers ready for winter. It’s time to spruce up the planters with spruce tops.
For those of you not familiar with what these are, spruce tops are swamp spruce. They are cut in northern Minnesota and Canada. These spruce don’t grow very tall and once cut; grow back allowing them to be cut again in the future. They’re a great renewable resource. They are sold in bundles.

I like to take the bundle, cut an inch or so off the bottom of each one and put them in a bucket of water overnight to hydrate before I push them in the soil of my pots and containers. Once you have your container “planted” with the spruce tops, there are any number of things you can to do give them unique finishing touches. You can add other evergreens such as cedar to soften the look, branches of red twig dogwood, curly willow, dried hydrangea stems, bright red permanent berry stems or even branches of magnolia.

You can mix and match any of these for an endless list of combinations. Here are a couple of pictures of some fun and different planters – these are not at my house. The one is loaded with hydrangea, pomegranates and magnolia – some of the items were sprayed with just a hint of gold floral spray paint to give it a different look. The other planter has bright weatherproof balls in with jewel tone accents.

For my window boxes, I used a few jumbo spruce tops (jumbo means taller) and some standard spruce tops. I left these plain since I will add lights later on. By my side door, I added some magnolia, and on the patio some clumps of red twig dogwood and cedar branches were added.

It is my front door that I “funked” out this year. I wanted something totally different and new there - something that I had never seen done before. I started with 3 rolls of copper tubing. One was 1/4” and two were 3/8” inch. I pushed one end into the soil in the pot and then bent and twisted it into a unique shape – it bends really easy. I pushed the second piece in the soil and sculpted it around the first. That step was repeated with the third piece. I then took the standard spruce tops, cut each one in half and filled the pot. I wanted the spruce tops low so they didn’t block the tubing. I will add some lights to the pot later on.

This was quick and easy – it really does look like more work then it was. Now that should give my neighbors something to talk about.

Make your day a good one.