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Creating Outdoor Holiday/Winter-season Porch Pots

When it comes to container gardening, one of my mantras for years has been "You paid good money for that container, let's keep it providing beauty to the landscape all year."  Holiday/winter season container gardens are the last transition each year for the 5 containers in the Scott family front yard.  Filling our containers with fresh cut holiday evergreens (many cut from our own landscape) gives us one last creative gardening exercise, and these pots will last until March.  Here are some helpful tips:


1.  When cleaning out our fall plants from these pots, like mums, asters, and millet, we clip all plants off at the bottom, leaving soil and root system intact to act like a web and really hold the cut greens in place.

2.  Lightly dampen soil before sticking cuttings in.  Visualize a wet sponge that you have squeezed the extra water out of, this is moist soil.

3.  If cutting greens from your own landscape, have a bucket of water handy to place cut greens in. (Cutting side down of course!)  These cut stems will take up water and remain fresher.

4.  If using greens that you have purchased, always make a fresh cut 1-2 inches above previous cut before sticking in your planter to promote better water absorption.

5.  Start in the middle of thepot using upright sturdy greens like boxwood, noble fir, and austrian pine, to achieve a base height level that is sturdy enough to handle a snow load.

6.  Next, I work on the outside edges with slightly trailing type greens such as white pine, western cedar, or juniper. Stick cut edges into soil at an angle and push cuts 3-6 inches deep into the soil so they don't fall out or get blown out from the wind, and also are deep enough to stay in moist soil.

7.  I then start filling in the middle with fluffy type material like douglas fir, norway spruce, more boxwood, taxus, holly etc. 

8.  Keep on sticking until your pot is nice and full.

9.  Once complete, we spray all greens with Wilt Stop, an anti-desiccant which helps the greens retain moisture and keep from drying out.  Anti-desiccants will reduce the fragrance from your materials, so you may wish to consider that factor.

10.  We than add things like pine cones, bows, stems from curly willow, red twig dogwood, or birch twigs.

11. Occasionally the water pot if Mother Nature doesn't, and enjoy until you are ready to plant your spring pansies.  We do remove bows and Christmas decorations after the holidays for just the winter seasonal look.


Last year I made over 150 winter pots that we sold here at Knollwood.  If I can do this any one can!

Have a great holiday season!   

                                                  John M. Scott

                                                  Knollwood Garden Center


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