We spent over a week tearing apart a thirty year old landscape for this client. They had decided that though their kids were grown and gone, they would stay, and renovate both the inside and out of their family home. They had not ever spent much time outdoors; a very small back yard with no privacy from neighboring terrraces and play structures kept them indoors. New screening, and an enlarged gravel addition to their terrace opened the door to a new living space for them. The finishing touch-a collection of Italian style, English made concrete planters.
Their children are all coming home for Thanksgiving; they asked if I could dress the pots in their winter coats in time. They are very excited at the prospect of their kids seeing how their home has been transformed in the past 3 months, and the landscape is part of that. Four of the five pots on the rear terrace would be planted for winter. As they have little in the way of outdoor lighting in the back, we installed lights in every pot. The electrician just installed outdoor plugs for them yesterday, in time for the holiday gathering.
We stuffed this long and large rectangular planter with a mix of boxwood and incense cedar. I like mixed greens in large planters for greater interest. The fan willow centerpiece is backed up with yellow twig dogwood; the pairing makes each individuall element look better.
Straight flame willow, and red curly willow have a very similar color, but a very different texture. These orangy brown twigs stand out against the bigger landscape gone grey. The blue of the noble fir contrasts strongly with those flames sticks; the planting looks warm and robust. The leaves of Magnolia Grandiflora have a beautful felted brown obverse; the shiny green leaves change up the texture.
Preserved and dyed eucalyptus provdes a leafy texture much like the magnolia. The chocolate brown color is surprisingly lightfast outdoors. The container looks dreesed for the weather; the colors perfect for the Thanksgiving holiday will go on looking good as winter settles in.
The pots are positioned to provide good views of the outdoors from the inside. I will move pots from a summer location to a winter one, if need be. I spend a lot more time looking at my garden in the winter from indoors; I am outdoors as much as possible in the summer. These pots can help alleviate that cooped up feeling invariably creeps up on any northern gardener.
After the rear terrace pots were installed, they called-could I please do three more. Though they plan to replace these front door pots in the spring, they are not the center of attention here. Red bud pussy willow and dark purple eucalyptus make a formal and quietly beautiful statement at the door. My landscape crews construct and install all of this work; they do such a beautiful job. Clients who have winter pots done for the first time are surprised at what a difference they make. I hear about how nice it feels to have something beautiful to look at outdoors at this time.
The side door has the same pot as the front, but a different treatment. As variety is a very precious commodity this time of year, I avoid repeating the same materials everywhere. These snow branches are all plastic; they look just as good up close, as they do in this picture. I try to include a third, mid-level element in all the winter pots; just sticks and greens is a little too spare for my taste.
This is my idea of warm holiday wishes from the garden.