As the days get cooler and thoughts turn to the holidays, it is important to welcome friends and family with warm wishes and a bit of sparkle. First impressions make the most impact when meeting people, and the outside of your home should be no different.
Imagine your family and friends pulling up to a house illuminated with candle hurricanes, evergreen topiaries flanking the doorway, greenery and berries cascading from window boxes, and the perfect boxwood wreath hanging center stage.
Mixed planters are one of the best ways for any gardener to celebrate the holiday season and create a dramatic impact with little effort. Picking the ideal container can be as simple as a terracotta pot or as elaborate as a Georgian cast iron urn. Pick evergreen and flowering plant material that will take you through the holidays and into the winter season. Combinations of boxwoods and ivy give a formal look to rival any southern estate. Narrow shaped evergreens such as sky pencil hollies or golden Italian cypress under-planted with white pansies provide a snowy feel on even the warmest winter days. For an extra bit of sparkle and a touch of whimsy you can add shatterproof ornaments of any color mixed in around the base of your planters.
Window boxes are a great way to add pops of color with plant material or cut greenery. White cyclamen combined with needlepoint ivy offers a classic touch. Mini conifers and pansies create a longer lasting seasonal display. Window boxes can also be dressed with evergreen clippings from your own yard or local nursery. Hollies, conifers, and berries can be arranged in window boxes that have been emptied of their summer occupants. Simply remove the dirt and fill with a plastic container and floral oasis that will help keep the boughs fresh when filled with water. A daily misting will keep your arrangements crisp.
Wreaths are another quick way to add a finishing touch to your outdoor decorating. Choose a wreath that picks up on the plantings that you have around your door or entry. Boxwood and magnolia wreaths adorned with chocolate or copper ribbons offer subtle color. Pine wreaths with brilliant red bows offer a casual warm welcome to guests.
Don’t forget the small touches are what make lasting impressions. Glass hurricane lanterns offer a warm glow when lit at night along a walkway or stairs. A new doormat in coordinating colors keeps the entryway fresh or a birdbath can be filled with fresh greens or shatterproof ornaments.
No matter how you choose to decorate this holiday season, you can be certain when your guests arrive they are welcomed with all the magic that the holidays have to offer. Inside and out!
Dean McKinney is the visual designer at Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden. He has created custom Christmas designs for over 8 years and is an experienced floral designer. You can reach him at (919) 459-2790.