Designing your outdoor containers
Woody floral products can create very unique, interesting outdoor containers. So, how does one go about this?
First, select a container that will hold up in all types of weather conditions. Most containers will work, although ceramic containers can crack if they freeze during the winter. There are two options for holding the stems in the container: Either stick the stems directly into the potting soil or put a smaller container inside the main container and fill it with sand to support the stems.
Next, gather the stems that you would like to use. Start with a colorful assortment of woody floral products. The red twig, yellow twig, and cardinal dogwoods work real well together to create a blast of color in the winter months. If you like the color/contortion of the curly and scarlet curls willows, use some of them in the container to add some more interest. Once the stems are all in, insert the evergreen branches. Mix some evergreens in vertically to help fill in the arrangement. Then put evergreens all around the bottom part of the arrangement to help hide the rim of the container. This helps the arrangement look like it is part of the container. Once all of the evergreens are in, put a few berried stems around in the arrangement to add some additional color/interest. For the evergreens, it is recommended to use ones out of your landscape as they will maintain their fresh appearance much longer than ones shipped in from out-of-state. It is best to have a variety of different evergreens for color and texture.
To assemble the arrangement in your container, first start by putting in the taller stems. Always work from the center to the outside to maintain a symmetrical appearance. Mix the types of stems/colors throughout the arrangement. Don’t throw any of the smaller stems away as they will help fill in around the bottom of the arrangement. Make sure to have the tallest stem be 1.5 – 2 times the height of the container. If not, the container will not look right.
In the spring and summer months, plant flowers in your containers, than place the stems around the flowers to make a dramatic outside arrangement. The stems add character to your floral decorations and are striking contrast to the colors in the various flowers or green plants.
Woody floral branches to use in outdoor containers:
- Red Twig, Yellow Twig, and Cardinal Dogwood
- Scarlet Curls Willow or Curly Willow
- Flame Willow (Because of the bright orange color, this works great for fall containers)
Suggestions for evergreen branches:
- Cedar and juniper branches work well as evergreens
- Yew bush branches are a great filler
- Many of the spruce and pine trees also work great. Mix them up to add different colors and textures
Suggestions for berried branches:
- Cedar trees with berries can be found growing in the wild
- Many of the ornamental junipers grown in landscapes have berries on them
- Winterberry branches have great red berries on them
- Sometimes a person can find fake berried stems at your local hobby store