Tag Archive | container

How to DIY Evergreen Winter Pots

Start by surrounding yourself with all of your materials. Once you do this, a helper usually shows up 😉 I buy most of my bling from the Dollar Store. Anything I can’t find there, I go to Hobby Lobby. If you haven’t searched out any holiday pot ideas, get on the internet and start looking! Ideas are everywhere. If you’re lucky enough to be flexible with your design, you can come-up with some pretty cool ideas. Using ornaments is my new thang. I hot glue them onto sticks or if you’re luck enough to get styrofoam  balls, the stick pushes right on.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut and strip/trim the stem of needles on ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • Be sure where you want to push the stems into the foam, because the foam will break if you change your mind too often.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.

Instead of me using a liner for this pot,  I used a tall, steel bucket. This time I did not use any soil, so I filled the bottom with a few rocks and cut the foam to fit in the bucket. This serves three purposes, better water collection for the greens at first, then for it to freeze the greens in place with little expansion, and lastly, a heavy base so the design won’t fall over in the wind and snow.

First, place your sticks (birch poles and sticks here) or the largest diameter things first. You’ll know right away if your foam is going to hold, nothing like making your whole design, and then placing your sticks and busting the foam!! Arrrg! >:-O Yes, I have learned the hard way! Big stuff first!

Think about where your pot will be displayed. Will they be on the sides of your door? On top of a pier? On top of your mailbox? Or on just one side of the door, like this one. I set my sticks a bit to one side (the back) of my pot, so more bling can be added to the front and sides. If you’re pot will be able to be viewed from all angles, I’d center them. If you’re having one on either side of your door, I would mirror-image the bling on 3 sides of the pot.

       

I like to get a ring around the bottom next, as you can be sure that there is a sufficient amount of greens around the bottom. Again, think of where your pot will be displayed. This one will be on the ground, so it will be viewed by looking down on it. Some folks have piers or taller areas where their pots are going, these pots will need to have a nice lower row, as this is what you may see when viewing up at it. I’m using Scott’s Pine for my bottom. I love this material, as it already has pine cones attached! Don’t worry if it sticks up a bit, as you add more to the center, it will flatten out.

On this one, I added Nobel Pine in the rear. Since these two pots are only about five feet apart, I wanted them to be similar. Large birch poles don’t make sense to the location, so I added these mini-birch-on-a-stick! They are best for little pops of color, without the weight of a multiple, large birch sticks.

      

Here’s my corner pot with the extent of holiday lighting that I do. It’s only about two feet wide. These three on the corner are just out of the shot below to the left.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Winter Display Containers 2017

It’s That time of year again! Winter pot time!!!

We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

       

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • Be sure where you want to push the stems into the foam, because the foam will break if you change your mind too often.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.

Want to check out some previous years containers? Click away!!!  2016 ~ 2015 ~ 2014 ~ 2013

I will have a couple of DYI|Step-by-step tutorials coming: However, for now, here’s a GOLD one and a SILVER one.

     

      

      

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Spring Annual Flower Containers

Happy Spring!

This season started off fun! I was able to go out an plant pots with my coworkers. We had beautiful weather to work in on top of it =-)

Be sure your container / pot is very clean to start the season. A good, stiff brush dipped in a 10% bleach solution will do the trick. This will kill off any of the nasties waiting to infect your flowers. This cleaning should take you through the season also. No need to disinfect after each season change. (Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter)

Spring flowers such as; Petunias, tulips, hyacinths, primrose, cyclamen, stock, hydrangea, muscari, snap dragons, ranunculus, helleborus, viola, ivy and diacia are just a few cool weather choices.

Give your display a bit of height with pussy willow or forsythia branches. If cut at the right time (pretty much right before placing in display) they will also bloom, adding to the WOW factor.

These flowers will last until the weather turns hot & then it’s time to switch over to your summer display.

You don’t need to remember a bunch of annual names. The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest. Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature. Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.

Just like autumn pots, these don’t grow any larger than they are now. So design accordingly.

Here are some Spring displays from 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013.

    

     

     

     

     

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Re-potting Houseplants

imageIt had been about 5 years since I took in these two orphans from work. They had been hanging under a pergola for one season and the clients didn’t want them anymore. Their loss is my gain! I re-potted them into these cool cornucopia looking bamboo baskets and they have lived happily in my south window since. 

I started to notice the soil around the outside edge started to feel a bit ‘crunchy’ for lack of a better term. These hang high, and I can’t see into them without removing them from the hooks, so I had to go on other signs they wanted new soil for their feet. Crunchy soil and the fact it took less time for me to hear the water flowing into the drip pan, meaning there were fissures in the soil that allowed the water to flow through the soil without any uptake of water into the soil. I finally decided it was time for a re-pot.

Many plants do actually prefer to be rootbound. My ficus and other philodendron plants have been in the same pots for decades. Other plants need the freedom to spread their roots…. These had gotten a bit thin on top, so along with the re-pot, I was going to transplant many of the runners to the pot to return it to it’s afro past.

  • First, I pruned off all the runners. I wanted the plant to put all of its energy into making new roots and leaves on the existing plant, not want to ‘Seek out new life and civilizations” ;-).
  • Then, I had to remove part of the old pot, as it had grown roots all through the bottom. The new pots weren’t that much larger than the old, however these do like to be root bound and I didn’t want to have them swimming in a ‘too large’ pot. I also had size restrictions on the hangers.
  • I took off about and inch of roots from the bottom. I wanted to encourage them to grow down into the new soil I placed on the bottom of the new pot. I also took off a bit of soil on the sides where there were no roots, so new, nutrient-filled soil will go.

image      image

  • I placed about 2 inches of potting soil in the bottom of the new pot. The pot was only about an inch larger around, but just enough to plant some newbies in there.
  • These are very easy to propagate. Prune them at a node (where there looks to be roots growing) and pop it in the new soil.
  • Be sure to keep these new babies watered. They aren’t getting the supplemental nutrients from Mom anymore, and will need some extra help.

 

image      image

https://midwesternplants.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/wpid-20150110_124845.jpg?w=596&h=336

And were back to lookin’ tropical 😉

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Evergreen Winter Seasonal Pots 2016

It’s that time again!! Wiiiinter pots!!

wp-1480902771446.jpg   wp-1480902771465.jpg   wp-1480902771466.jpgwp-1480902829957.jpgwp-1480902771450.jpg
winter-pot img_2356

We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.

img_2376 img_2603 img_5761

img_2827 don2 img_2853 img_2865 img_5849 manone10

img_2582   img_2618 img_5798   dsc_0046 img_5825  dsc_0108silverman5 copy-1-of-dsc_0030

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Autumn Container Displays – 2016

 

All the basics from designing a summer container still apply when designing the fall pot:

The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller!

The Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest.
Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature.
Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.
The only small difference you need to remember is that Fall plants do not grow like the Summer plants do. Basically, WYSIWYG (what you see, is what you get), you do not need to think about a plant growing into it’s place. Fill the pot to it’s greatest extent because this container will only be around for two months at best.

Most Fall plants are also not that tall. We use grasses, sticks and other material to get the height the design requires.

Here’s a list of our commonly ordered Fall plant material:

Miscanthus grasses – These add great height & texture
Pennisetum millet – Height & texture, fuzzy seedheads.
Heuchera – Coral bells – Great colored leaves available
Acorus & Carex – A nice bright yellow or white for a great spiller
Sedums – Great for spillers
Ajuga – Nice texture
Rudbeckia – Great reds, yellows and oranges available, also great for height
Kale – It comes in many varieties from cabbage/round style to tall parsley-looking
Osaka Cabbage – A staple in most of our designs. Fills those ‘holes’ really well
Swiss Chard – A wonderful filler that is very colorful also
Mums – Aren’t they the official fall flower?!? Great filler
Calibracoa – They look like small petunias, but can handle the cooler temps. Great spiller
Ivy – Sometimes we reuse the ivy from the summer containers as it still looks great and it’s much bigger than the newly ordered pots
Ornamental Jerusalem Cherry – Looks like a tomato plant, but use with caution, they don’t take the cool weather well & the ‘cherries’ fall off
Ornamental peppers – Great way to splash in some color to the filler section
Crotons – One of my favs! Great for a colorful thriller
Pansy – These cool season flowers look great and add great color to the pot
Bittersweet or honeysuckle – This one is not alive, but it is a great finishing touch to the design. Unfortunately, it is a very invasive species, but is grown for the floral industry. I wish someone would get a business together where they would ‘wild collect’ this and do a ‘two-fer’ for society, invasive removal & design enjoyment.

   

img_8587    img_5439 img_9500

img_9346   

img_9276
img_9411    img_9451
img_2336     img_5440

img_2340     img_5444

img_3116
img_2493     img_2198

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

A Day in the Life of Me… Annual Day!

There are very few days I love to come to work. However, any of the four, seasonal flower days are worth showing up for and annual flower day tops the list. Even though I generally have to unload these trucks, the aroma and sight of these beauties makes it all worth it.
My summer annual container post will be hot off the ISP’s very soon. However, if you can’t wait, here are some past Summer Annual Container posts from 20132014 and 2015.

For now, let’s just relax and enjoy the purdy fluers!

image

image  image

image   image

image  image

image  image

image

image

Begonias, impatiens and coleus… Oh my!

Three women unloaded four trucks. We all skipped our exercise class for the week.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Winter Greens Containers – 2015

Ah, another year of landscaping is coming to a close for me. I always feel a bit melon-collie at Winter pot time around the office.

photo 1  DSC_0986

We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of  clear spray paint to help them keep their form.

DSC_1661

DSC_1470  DSC_0992
DSC_1962

IMG_1093  DSC_0947 IMG_1091

IMG_1104  IMG_1501

IMG_2603  photo 5

photo345 Pot 1

I truly love making winter containers!!

Want more?

Click HERE to see 2014 Winter Containers – This link has a few more visual ‘How-to’s’ if needed.

Click HERE to see 2013 Winter Containers

 

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

How to Create an Outdoor Winter Pot

My office for the next few days.
image

This week kicked off the winter pot brigade! It generally slows down enough for me to help make the 100 or so winter pots my company installs before Thanksgiving. Out of the 100 or so we make, about 10 are Christmas containers, but we like to use the nondescript term of ‘winter pots’, because 98% of our client base is Jewish. No red, no berries, no sparkles, no holly, no bows, no garland, nothing related to Christmas! These limitations aren’t that difficult, there are many other options available. I like a non-Christmas pot myself, as it can be displayed after Christmas without looking like you were lazy in removing the holiday displays. Sometimes I use something easily removable such as lighted sticks, or sprigs of red berries that can be removed from the display and the pot can continue on into January and beyond.

image
image
IMG_2350
IMG_2426
IMG_2447

We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.
image

image

image

image

image

Copyright – Ilex Farrell

Autumn Season Pots To Fall For!

Every season does go by faster. I’ve already discussed this. I need to go change the countdown widget over down-there to countdown to something else, but what? Fall? Nah, already here. Winter? PLEEEEZE!!! I don’t think so. I’ll have to mull on that… If you have any suggestions please comment!

Click for last years fun Autumn Containers!

All the basics from designing a summer container still apply when designing the fall pot:

The only thing you need remember for a well-presented display is: Thriller, Filler & Spiller!

  • The Thriller is that one large plant that is generally in the center and taller than the rest.
  • Filler are those mid-range sized plants, often of ‘fatter or fuller’ stature.
  • Spiller is just that, plants that hang over the edge of the pot.

The only small difference you need to remember is that Fall plants do not grow like the Summer plants do. Basically, WYSIWYG (what you see, is what you get), you do not need to think about a plant growing into it’s place. Fill the pot to it’s greatest extent because this container will only be around for two months at best.

Most Fall plants are also not that tall. We use grasses, sticks and other material to get the height the design requires.

Here’s a list of our commonly ordered Fall plant material:

  • Miscanthus grasses – These add great height & texture
  • Pennisetum millet – Height & texture, fuzzy seedheads.
  • Heuchera – Coral bells – Great colored leaves available
  • Acorus & Carex – A nice bright yellow or white for a great spiller
  • Sedums – Great for spillers
  • Ajuga – Nice texture
  • Rudbeckia – Great reds, yellows and oranges available, also great for height
  • Kale – It comes in many varieties from cabbage/round style to tall parsley-looking
  • Osaka Cabbage – A staple in most of our designs. Fills those ‘holes’ really well
  • Swiss Chard – A wonderful filler that is very colorful also
  • Mums – Aren’t they the official fall flower?!? Great filler
  • Calibracoa – They look like small petunias, but can handle the cooler temps. Great spiller
  • Ivy – Sometimes we reuse the ivy from the summer containers as it still looks great and it’s much bigger than the newly ordered pots
  • Ornamental Jerusalem Cherry – Looks like a tomato plant, but use with caution, they don’t take the cool weather well & the ‘cherries’ fall off
  • Ornamental peppers – Great way to splash in some color to the filler section
  • Crotons – One of my favs! Great for a colorful thriller
  • Pansy – These cool season flowers look great and add great color to the pot
  • Bittersweet or honeysuckle – This one is not alive, but it is a great finishing touch to the design. Unfortunately, it is a very invasive species, but is grown for the floral industry. I wish someone would get a business together where they would ‘wild collect’ this and do a ‘two-fer’ for society, invasive removal & design enjoyment.

Without further ado… Here are some Fall containers to drool over!!

DSC_0491 IMG_1844 IMG_1852 IMG_1862 IMG_1897 IMG_1901 IMG_1925 IMG_1932 IMG_1934 IMG_1945 IMG_8663