Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Cheery Winter Containers

I like to use perennials in containers with a few annuals for seasonal interest. This technique enables me to keep containers looking nice for most of the growing season without a lot of effort. Although I enjoy making tweaks throughout the year, my favorite container transformations occur around the holidays. Just after Thanksgiving I collect greens, berries, and interesting branches to use. Then the magic begins.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Collected materials are ready for use in containers.

My winter container transformation approach is very similar to what I would do any other time of year. I start with spillers. You can use individual greens for this or even some leftover garland encircling the base of the planter. Some people use wreaths as a foundational component. Thrillers are next. Thrillers are the tall components that give the display some height. These can include greens in contrasting colors as well as natural or spray-painted twigs or seed heads.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Spillers in place. Cryptomeria cascades over the base of the container.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

The tall thriller components include spray painted branches and glaucus Juniper branches.

The fillers are the most fun from my perspective. Once the spillers and thrillers are in place, the filler items add amazing interest. I recommend using materials with contrasting color and texture such as magnolia leaves, variegated conifer branches, and berries. The fuller the containers are, the better. Don’t fret if rain or freezing weather is expected. This type of weather will help the containers stay fresh for months.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

The filler components include Nandina berries, Thuja branches, and Abelia cuttings.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

The finished containers welcome guests. Even the homeowner’s dog seems pleased as he checks out the scene from inside the home.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

I grow lettuce and lavender in this container during the summer months. For the winter, I used leftover garland at the base along with other greens. Fillers include boxwood and berries.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

The same container looks lovely coated in snow.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

This window box was transformed from nothing to something with ongoing winter interest.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

The Lonicera and Phlox subulata stay in this container all year long. Magnolia leaves provide a nice contrast to the fine leaves. Yellow-leaved conifers and spray-painted branches serve as thrillers.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Sometimes the conifer branches look best upside down. in this case the Thulopsis branches were overturned and used as cascading spillers.

Lasting Landscapes by Carol

Dusted in snow – what could be more magical?

Enjoy harvesting materials from your property and using them to transform your containers. You’ll add to your garden’s winter interest and enjoy the visual impact until it’s time to transition them to an early spring arrangement. And believe it or not, spring will be here before we know it!

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