Greetings from an ice cold version of a November day. There is once again snow on the ground in my little neck of the woods, and 'the LG' is completely frozen over and dusted with snow behind my house. Ugh. On a brighter note, my weekend was filled with many other wonderful things. My mom and I made a shopping trip to get some Christmas items checked off the list (After spending a solid 3.5 hours at Hobby Lobby, I can't wait to decorate!), I found the perfect indoor tree for our main living area upstairs at the new house, and I attended a class at a local greenhouse with my mother-in-law and mom about spruce tip porch pot decorating. Such a fabulous weekend!
Things you will need:
- 1 medium or large outdoor pot
- potting soil
- 5-6 spruce tips
- gardening gloves
- gardening shears
- birch logs
- curly willow or other tall branches
- decorative picks
- bow or gazing ball (this will be the focal point)
The first five of these items are essentials, while the remaining items are guidelines and can be adjusted based on what you want your pot to look like.
Put on those gardening gloves. We're about to get our hands dirty! Begin by prepping the pot. Since T & I recently moved, I did not have a large outdoor pot, or any outdoor pot for that matter. I found one at a greatly discounted price in Menards outdoor section and purchased some new potting soil to get this project going. If you have a pot already, great! You can use the same potting soil, root systems and all, from your summertime flowers. Keep in mind that you will be adding water to this project at the end, so if you are using a fabulous piece of pottery, make sure to use a less expensive plastic insert so that when the water freezes it won't crack your pot.
Next, clip the bottom branches off the spruce tips. Spruce tip decorating has become popular in the last five years or so, and you will likely be able to pick up a bundle at your local greenhouse. I have not seen them available at any of the big box stores at this point.* The bundle I used had about 8-9 spruce tips, but you'll only need about 5-6 for one medium sized pot. After clipping the lower branches (make sure to keep them for later), find the tallest one, and firmly press it into the potting soil. I made a one-sided pot and started by putting the tallest tip in the middle, then focused on filling out the front and sides with shorter tips (or by pressing them further into the soil to create the effect of a small Christmas tree shape). All those branches you clipped off? Lay them on top of the remaining potting soil to hide the dirt.
*NOTE* If you aren't into a full DIY project, Menards is selling pre-made spruce tip pots in their outdoor section that range from $20-$40. You could always start there and switch up the decorative picks to your preferences.
Great, we're halfway there! Once you have the spruce tips in place, the real fun begins. Decorating time! This is where you can get creative and adjust the materials to your tastes and color preferences. I decided to keep my pot relatively neutral since I plan to keep it out all winter instead of strictly Christmas. Start by finding a spot near the middle for the 'thriller', the unexpected visual element that will add extra height (mine was curly willow). Other good options to consider; dogwood, pussy willow, tall birch logs, holiday palm fronds, or anything that would have more height than your tallest spruce tip.
Now, it's time for the more personalized decorative picks. As I mentioned before, I kept my palate relatively neutral. Other ideas to consider are choosing picks that compliment your house color, your pot color, or go all out Christmas and do a red-green, or gold-silver combo. You could even do a fall pot to decorate for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (use leaves, wheat shoots, berries, etc). The world is your oyster. I used 6 separate decorative elements for my pot; short birch logs (5), stars (3), gourd cups (3), dried artichokes (3), berries (2) and pinecones (2). If you plan to use birch logs, start with those first as they have a bigger base and will take up more room. I purchased the decorative picks at my local greenhouse, but you could also find them at most craft stores.
The best tip for arranging the picks is to cluster in groups of three. Try to arrange the picks in a triangle shape with 3 heights for the same pick. This will give your pot more visual interest and look more cohesive. Example - three stars together on one side, 3 gourds together on the other. I used berries and pinecones as extra filler. Don't forget to create a focus point! This could be a bow at the front of the pot, or a gazing ball or ornament that stands out.
When you are happy with your design, don't forget to water in the spruce tips to keep them looking great all winter (and to add extra weight to the pot). You'll only need to water once, so don't be shy. If you have an outlet nearby, you could also add some Christmas lights at this point. I just love how my porch pot turned out.
Bring on the holiday visitors! These porch pots are sure to impress!