Tag Archive | how to

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

How to Remove Stains From Limestone

One of our clients bought this bowl from Longshadow Planters & Lawn Ornaments in Southern Illinois. We install many planters from Longshadow, and you can see them in many of my seasonal landscape pots. The artisans at Longshadow do fine work and they have a wide selection of pieces, although all of their pieces are made from limestone.

Limestone is a very porous material and that has its advantages for plants or being out in the elements. A disadvantage would be that if the bowl’s drain hole becomes plugged for any reason, it can stain, like this one.

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We brought this one back to try to restore it to it’s former ivory color. I would have preferred to have soaked it, however, because of it’s size I couldn’t. If you are able to soak your piece, I’d highly recommend it.

I started by pouring water over it to get it wet. Then, I placed towels on it and soaked those with water also. I then poured straight bleach onto the towels and let it soak for a few hours, followed by rinsing with 2-3 gallons of water. I repeated this until It was clean. After it was clean enough for my liking, I rinsed it again with copious amounts of water. Let it dry.

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After it thoroughly dries, you might notice that some of the stains came back! I was uber-pissed to see that some of the worse areas came back. I had to go back and repeat the process a few more times and it finally stayed clean. This is why I feel it would have been better for it to be in a tub where I could let the water soak into the bowl, rather than just rolling off of it.
In total, this pot took me 3 days to clean.

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To be sure your pot stays clean, be sure that the drain hole is clear and don’t use dyed mulch or soil mixtures (like cocoa beans or peat moss) in it.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl