Day and night get equal play in our zone this time of year. There is no need to convince you. The dark and the cold is obvious to any gardener within range of my zone. Winter and holiday containers can help mitigate the down and dormant garden. Whatever you create in the way of winter pots has to have a little evening wear waiting in the wings. These pots positioned at the end of a driveway have silver eucalyptus and matte surfaced holiday balls-these materials are naturally reflective. White in the landscape comes to the foreground visually. Dark colors recede. The night light in this pot-wound around the topiary form. This form in a summer setting could provide structure for a vine. Unadorned, it is a sculptural element hovering over a planting. In the winter, it is an armature for a source of light.
The night light provided by the topiary forms is strong and lacy. Even the glass balls have a subtle glow. My client calls these the onion heads- with great affection, I might add. The look at night is welcoming. There is a practical aspect. The way to the garage is marked loud and clear.
We plant a pair of tall Belgian wood boxes for a client, every year, for all four seasons. We removed the fall planting yesterday-I was pleased that it still looked good. But for some wilt in the kale after a string of nights around 12 degrees, the fall planting was entirely presentable. But now is the time to move beyond the fall to the winter season. The winter arrangements need to be large, as the pots are big. They also need lighting, as the front of the house is not especially well lit. A string of garland lights, which has 300 bulbs on a 35 foot strand, has been wound around the base of the centerpiece. This will provide a first tier round of lighting at night.
Barely visible here is a second strand of 100 count mini lights on brown cords. This lights have been tucked between the eucalyptus and the red twig dogwood. During the day, those lights strings are all but invisible. At night, they will glow. A number of tall gold picks will pick up the twinkle light in the evening hours, and provides a little holiday sparkle. These branches can be taken out after New Year’s. The red twig and eucalyptus will look great for the remainder of the winter.
This is the basic structure and shape of an arrangement that will last all winter. I would bet it will still look serviceable in March. Cut noble fir wears like iron over the winter. The branches and the needles are very strong, and will handle any bad weather a winter has to dish out. The preserved eucalyptus will survive the winter without a blemish. No container arrangement delivers so well and for so long as a winter arrangement. No watering. No deadheading, or fertilizing. All there is to do is look, and be pleased about what you see.
The final details come after the basic structure is in place. Bringing the holiday expression, and the red of the holiday down into the lower portion of the arrangement makes for an execution which is all put together, and ready for company – top to bottom. A third layer of lights is added to the greens. Could there be too many lights?
During the day, these winter pots keep the front door company in a formal way. A holiday way. A winter way. The color compliments the stone on the house. These boxes are dressed for the winter season. The lighting contained within these pots will illuminate the entrance to the front door at night, over the course of our long winter. These clients are serious about the garden and the landscape. They rue the coming of the cold as much as you do. These pots express that interest in the landscape every day of the dormant winter season.
I so value a beautiful expression of light for the winter season. Our darkness is long, and even the days are cloudy and gloomy – for month to come. A fresh snow will glow in this light. These lights will burn off a heavy blanket of snow. My advice? Turn the lights on.