Day And Night

DA holiday 2014Day 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.

DA holiday 2014  2The 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.

DSC_6801We 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.

DSC_6803Barely 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.

DSC_6800This 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.

SD holiday 2014The 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?

SD holiday 2014  5During 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.

IMG_7980These boxes provide lots of light at the front door, after dark. Any light says welcome.  Lots of light creates a glow that would warm the heart of any visitor.

IMG_3443I 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.



  1. Deborah, your designs are absolutely spectacular! These look so perfect on either side of the doorway, and, as you said, their coloring compliments the house beautifully. I love the fact that they will last until March and require no maintenance (who wouldn’t love that!). Thank you for sharing your thought process in creating these.

  2. Deborah, I love the “let there be light” posts. Thanks.

  3. Who knew ‘onions’ could be so elegant? Love the lighted garlic(?) forms with the silver eucalyptus. So beautiful. I’m wondering what the size of the form is compared to the diameter of the pot.

    I keep a virtual clip file of your pot plantings and winter designs. There’s nothing more relaxing especially this time of year than poring over the myriad of images with a cup of coffee in the morning.
    So inspiring!

  4. Hi Deborah,
    You’ve inspired me to try using lights in my winter containers for the first time this year.

    Regarding your statement, “No container arrangement delivers so well and for so long as a winter arrangement.” I couldn’t agree more. I appreciate the “zero maintenance” of winter containers: create them and forget them. Enjoyment is the only action required!

  5. Susan in Boston says

    Hi Deborah,
    I am in Boston and am sad I cannot visit your shop. Are these lights run by batteries?
    Do you ship? I would love to get some brown ones. It looks like a magician did this!

  6. Deb, this arrangement is OUTSTANDING! Love reading your blog, so inspiring.

  7. JoyceB in Atlanta says

    A beautiful and festive arrangement. When I saw the ‘shutter’ style container, I half expected to see that you had wound lights into the crevices to light the pots and stairs better! Love the idea of adding or removing items from the basic arrangement to suit the season, though the red balls and gold branches will work well through February.

  8. Starr Foster says

    Sophisticated, elegant, colorful, bright, beautiful, and welcoming!

  9. Jo Adkison says

    Thank you for sharing. The colors are so rich and cheerful!

  10. I second what Vickie says…thanks!

  11. Dear Deborah, I am new to your post after visiting DGWs several weeks ago. Your blog is so heart felt I eagerly open them. I have been awed with your designs and execution. Thank you for being so generous with sharing how you get from bare container to stunning finished projects. I have learned so much from your blogs. I just finished my porch container and following your inspiration added many more lights than usual and in a different way. Sat out in the dark to make sure everything looked just right. You have given me so many ideas that next year I plan on doubling the size of my container and the one I do for my library. Have a wonderful Christmas.

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