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How to make your own Christmas planter

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‘Tis the season. ‘Tis the season for poinsettias, available now in box stores and grocery stores everywhere. Their price is right because greenhouses want to quickly send their first batch to market, making room for their premium poinsettias available in a few weeks. But buying your poinsettia in November is risky because it might look worse for wear at Christmas.

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‘Tis the season for festive greens. The quickest and easiest festive porch pots are available everywhere at a hard-to-resist price. These festive porch pots are mass assembled, and then shipped to grocery stores, box stores and home improvement warehouses.

For those who possess at least an ounce of creativity, I would recommend making your own festive green arrangements. You can buy evergreen boughs in variety, or go into your own backyard with a pruner and cut your own stems.

Step one is look for a pot. Your pot does not have to be big or fancy because the stems will nicely conceal the container. Fill with soil and pack tightly.

Creating your festive arrangement is like planting containers of spring flowers. There are thrillers, fillers and spillers.

Start with selecting your thriller or focal stems. Red twig dogwood and birch poles are winners in arrangements, but you can also use your imagination by using driftwood, rusty tools or ornamental grass as focal points. Plant the focal points in the centre or back of the container.

Selecting fillers is easy because any evergreens will do the trick. Cedars, yews, junipers, pine and spruce are readily available and easy to use. Use a pruning tool to remove the lower foliage to make a stem. Don’t be frugal with your evergreen boughs. Your arrangement will look better with several small stems rather than a few larger pieces.

Start with eight to 12 firm stems and place them in a circular pattern at the bottom of the arrangement, pointing outward or almost horizontal. These will form the base of your planter. Next, add another row of branches, pointing slightly upward. Add one more row of stems pointing nearly vertical. By now your arrangement should be full. If you can see soil, add more short green foliage.

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The fun and final step involves adding accessories, like adding jewelry to your outfit. Look for anything in the backyard that will complement the arrangement and provide contrast in colour or texture. Sumac stems, twisted willow, cattails or dried hydrangea flowers are but a few ideas. If you don’t like their colour, spray paint will do wonders. Other ideas include pine cones, magnolia leaves, boxwood or holly stems.

Finally, add your own personality to your festive arrangement. Think of using miniature gift boxes, a toy car, rusty metal or a fake bird to add interest. Don’t make the mistake of adding too much clutter. I prefer more muted natural tones, while others may like glitter and gold. A festive bow might be the finishing touch.

Leave the arrangement outdoors where cool temperatures and humidity will give longevity. If you’d like to bring the arrangement indoors to enjoy its fragrance and beauty, do so for only a few days. After the holidays, remove the Christmas accessories and enjoy the green planter until it dries up in spring.

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