Outdoor Winter Pot Arrangements

Outdoor Winter Pot Arrangements

Part of Ep. 206 Gifts from the Garden

Plant cold tolerant plants in your empty window box and enjoy them all winter.   Gary Shaw of Winterland Nursery in Fitchburg demonstrates how to turn an empty window box into a work of art.

Premiere date: Nov 30, 1994

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Many gardeners have large planters and window boxes that are too heavy or just impossible to bring indoors for the winter. As a result, they tend to sit outside looking rather empty and forlorn. This one doesn't, however. This is a thing of beauty and I am with its creator, Gary Shaw of Winterland Nursery in Fitchburg. Gary, you've turned an empty window box into a work of art. How did you do this?

Gary:
Well, I took a regular planter box. I added some juniper, and some spruce. I added the juniper so it covered the plastic lining.

Shelley:
Real good idea.

Gary:
I added some wild yam.

Shelley:
Real pretty seed pods on those.

Gary:
Nice color. Some poppy heads and carrion flower.

Shelley:
Now that's just a wild vine that grows along the roadsides.

Gary:
It drapes over the fences along the country side. You'll see it in the fall with the golden leaves.

Shelley:
So, you've made a window box something to look at and enjoy all winter. Can we do this though with a larger planter?

Gary:
Any kind of outdoor planter will work just fine.

Shelley:
A whiskey barrel?

Gary:
Whiskey barrels are great. They're big, you can have a lot of fun with them. You can add big pieces to it like I did here.

Shelley:
Now that's red osher dogwood. I recognize that one. It's much taller than I expected it to be. Almost two thirds the size of the whiskey barrel.

Gary:
It adds a lot of height to it. You can play with this. Now what you can do with these after you have them in, is add little white twinkling lights to it.

Shelley:
Oh, that would be wonderful for the holidays.

Gary:
After you've got your dogwood in, you want to start out with using some spruce. It's tall and it's easy to stick in. Before you put the pieces in you want to cut each end.

Shelley:
Why is that?

Gary:
Well, while they are stuck in the soil, they'll take up moisture which will help preserve them through the winter.

Shelley:
And keep them green.

Gary:
Keep them green and keep the needles from shedding, which is the whole idea so you have a piece to look at all winter.

Shelley:
So, we are leaving the soil in the box, in the planter?

Gary:
The soil is left in, but loosened up so you can push these in without struggling with it. This container had herbs in it.

Shelley:
Will they come back?

Gary:
They'll come back next year and this will help protect them even.

Shelley:
Oh sure, like a living mulch almost, providing of course that we don't have a really cold winter

Gary:
Exactly. Now I would like to add some pine to it.

Shelley:
Now you've still got the pine cones on these.

Gary:
Right. Because they add color to the piece and texture. You want to keep in mind the whole time color and texture when you are doing this.

Shelley:
Will the squirrels bother the pine cones, possibly?

Gary:
The squirrels will come in and take them if anything but that's another thing you can do with these pieces is think of your birds and you can add highbush cranberry, rosehips,

Shelley:
The red berries attract them.

Gary:
Exactly. Anything that will feed the birds and they will come in and use your planter as a bird feeding station.

Shelley:
So, it's not just for us to enjoy then either.

Gary:
It will attract wildlife.

Shelley:
Now you want this now.

Gary:
Yeah, this is arbor vitae. And again I have pruned this and when you are pruning arbor vitae or spruce you cut at a joint. That'll help the bush itself next year flush out with new growth.

Shelley:
But make sure we do the pruning of this after the trees are pretty dormant so we're not causing new growth to start.

Gary:
New flush of growth on them. Yeah, it would be too tender for the cold weather that is coming.

Shelley:
Now these are flat, they have a little bit different texture than what you have been doing already.

Gary:
Texture and color again.

Shelley:
And they smell great.

Gary:
Plus it doesn't take a lot of arbor vitae to make filler as you can see just a few pieces have filled in that corner.

Shelley:
Okay. Sure.

Gary:
Now when you are working on these, you want to work all around the piece, the entire piece, wherever people are going to see.

Shelley:
That's right. This isn't hanging against a wall so you want to enjoy it from all angles.

Gary:
Right. And make sure they're pushed into the soil, the stems, good and secure.

Shelley:
Especially if you get a high wind and we do get those in the winter time.

Gary:
Okay. Now if you want to hand me some eucalyptus.

Shelley:
Okay. That is this blue here. Now this is the one thing we're talking about that doesn't really grow in Wisconsin.

Gary:
Right. This is bought in, you can buy it in a flower shop or a hobby shop. It is preserved. Now if you see the color of this.

Shelley:
It really brings out the greens.

Gary:
It comes in other colors as well. You can get it in red or pink.

Shelley:
Can we look at a finished project? I assume to add more to this.

Gary:
Sure.

Shelley:
Wow. Now this is beautiful. Are you telling me that this kind of thing is gonna look like this, this pretty outdoors all winter?

Gary:
It should. What you want to do when the product is finished, when you've finished your piece is add water to it.

Shelley:
To the soil.

Gary:
To the soil. That will feed these with water, your greens,

Shelley:
Keep them green.

Gary:
Plus it will freeze when the ground freezes the ground freezes in the planter. That secures these pieces in so they won't blow out or when the heavy snows come, when they are bending over, they won't fall out.

Shelley:
So it is just like sticking them in a frozen ice cube almost and they'll just stay solid all winter.

Gary:
Exactly.

Shelley:
Well, let's look at some of the stuff you've got in here then.

Gary:
Well, I've used preserved oak leafs which have to be purchased at a hobby shop.

Shelley:
Okay.

Gary:
They are preserved in glycerin and dyed. You get more color that way.

Shelley:
And the colors just are gorgeous.

Gary:
Then I've used jarro.

Shelley:
Now that grows easily.

Gary:
And hydrangea which will dry, you can find in most people's yards.

Shelley:
Now that tends to turn a little more brown as winter continues.

Gary:
Yes, but it still adds texture and color to the pieces you's using.

Shelley:
Okay.

Gary:
Then I finished up sumac.

Shelley:
Another beautiful red color and grows obviously easy all over Wisconsin.

Gary:
All over the countryside.

Shelley:
Well, you've got so many different colors in here, it's amazing how nice they look. This is really pretty. Thanks, Gary.

Gary:
Thank you.

Shelley:
This would make a nice addition to anyone's yard and don't be afraid to experiment. Look at the natural materials you've got available.
 

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