Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Porch Pot

I've got a great idea for decorating your porch or any area outside. Make a Holiday Porch or Garden Pot.  It's essentially free - using planters you already have, branches and dirt!  (If you're nervous, you could attend a garden center workshop or class on making porch pots, as most garden centers will be happy to help.)  Or you could do what my Mom and I did a couple of years ago just wing it!  They came out great, and were really easy, so it's now a Christmas tradition.  The awesome thing about this is you can decorate them for the holidays, remove the decorations after the holidays, and the greenery will last months.

First, scour the woods, or your yard, or your family's yards, for pine boughs. Get some really big ones, some  medium and some large.  Mix up the textures or stick with one flavor...  I chose to use three different kinds of fir. (I'm no gardener, so I can't tell you what kind they are!)

We have one pine tree in the yard.  One.  So, we did what we had to: clad in ski masks and black clothing under the cover of darkness, we filled the back of the truck with boughs stolen from my parents house. Only joking - they said we could.  However, if we didn't have that option, Lowe's and the local garden centers do sell bundles of boughs.

Anyway, I piled all the branches in my gorilla cart and wheeled them to the front porch area.  The first year we did this I learned not to put the pots together and then try to move them.  Large containers of dirt and branches are heavy and awkward.

So, I put the branches on the ground in piles of large, medium and small.  And then I put gloves on, because I had sap all over my hands...

I took the pots and filled them with dirt.  I didn't have enough dirt I'm too lazy to dig dirt from the yard, and I didn't want to leave holes in the yard, so I bought a bag of plain dirt from Lowe's. It was under $2 for 40 lbs.  (A note here about buying dirt - if the dirt is stored outside, and you live in a cold climate, be sure to make these pots before the dirt freezes.  Otherwise you will have to put the dirt in your living room for 3 days to let it thaw - don't ask how I know this.)

A note here - when I plant live plants I usually put empty plastic bottles in the bottom of the pot to take up some space and save on potting soil, especially if my planter is large.  However, in this instance I filled the pots up with all dirt.  Do NOT put plastic in the bottom of the pot to take up space, because you want plenty of room to push the branches way down in.  You don't want all of your hard work blown all over your yard during the next big wind!

Put the largest branches in the middle and in the back, and jam them in the dirt.  (While I did this, I had "We're Jammin' " by Bob Marley going through my head.)  Next fill in the pots with the medium and the small branches.  You could easily trim your branches to make a more uniform look, but I wanted mine to be huge and rustic.  Turn the planter and just fill in any holes or blank spots.

In the beginning they look really ugly.

[caption id="attachment_669" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Ugly![/caption]

But keep turning and filling in. ( Meanwhile, ignore your husband when he looks at the planters, and then at you, as if you've lost your marbles.  Ignore the Time Warner tech who looks at you as if thinking "the poor dear thinks that looks good".  Ignore them, because they will look good, when you're done. )

[caption id="attachment_670" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Not as ugly...[/caption]

The next step was to add some bling.  I had only a few OLD dollar store decorations on hand. So I just used them for now. I used twist ties to secure them to the branches.  And, I twist-tied the bows to a stick and stuck the stick in the dirt in the front of the planter.

I think they look pretty good.  I am definitely stopping at the craft store later today to grab a few more berry-type stick-like ornaments (that's what they're called!).

So I'm happy this is done, and it was 70 degrees today, so I didn't have to freeze doing this.

But now we really need some snow to cover up all of this mud!  C'mon Mother Nature!  This is Central New York, not Miami!!!