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You Can Grow It: Making winter porch planters

Jim Duthie goes to a local garden center to show you how to make decorative winter porch containers for the holidays.

BOISE, Idaho — Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to dress up your front porch for the holidays. Make your own winter porch planters from things already growing in your home landscape.

Garden master Jim Duthie goes to a local garden center to find out just how easy and how beautiful these holiday displays can be. and you can make them yourself.

How would you like to decorate your house for the holidays with trimmings from trees and shrubs in your own yard? It’s easy to do and you’ll save money.

We’re getting tips from Emily Anglin at 36th Street Garden Center on making winter porch containers to brighten up the entrance to our homes during the drab days of winter.

It doesn’t cost much to make these containers. Use clippings from your own yard, like these, or pick some up at a local nursery or a Christmas tree lot. You can even use a living plant, like this dwarf Alberta spruce. and save even more money by using a container that you grew plants in during the summer.

“This is a pot from my front porch, for instance, that had canna lilies in it. And some petunias, and so once those were spent for the year, I trimmed them back. I knew that I would be wanting a container for my front porch for the winter,” said Anglin.

Just cut the stems all the way back. The roots in the soil will act like styrofoam to hold your display in place.

“So I always start in the center with my height.”

Emily has some red dogwood branches from her yard, and she cuts them to the height that she wants. Save the ends that are cut off. You can use them later as stakes for other decorations.

“And then I will start building.”

“As you can see here, the height is in the center in the back, and then your smaller things that spill over are in the front.”

“So you start with your tallest to your smallest.”

Now start adding your greenery. Trim the ends so that they'll poke easily into the soil.

“And just kind of plug it right in.”

“And then you just start filling in the rest of our branches…”

Use different textures to add variety to your design, like this cedar with the tiny seed cones still attached.

“This is juniper, and this has got nice textures adding the blueish berries to it, so you get a little bit more color..”

“And so you want to think about, you know, as the snow falls, or the wind blows, it kind of brings it to life on your porch.”

Then fill in any empty spots with some of your trimmed pieces.

“So now you can see we’ve got a really good backdrop, a really good base.”

Now we’re ready to add some color – different kinds of pine cones, some colored berry sprigs from a craft store, or other ornaments.

“And so I’m going to put some berries up high as well.”

“And then because I really like the looks of things spilling over, I’ll take this and kind of bend it and then put it in the front of the pot with the other little fillers.”

And remember those dogwood sticks that we saved? We can use them as stakes, using floral wire or hot glue to attach berries and pine cones to them.

“And then I always like to add that holiday flair with a little bit of ribbon.”

Make a bow with wire ribbon, attach it to a stick, and insert it into the planter. And these battery powered LED lights will add a little sparkle.

“And they look really nice at night.”

“So now I would water.”

Soak the soil in the planter to keep the greens fresh. And when it freezes it will hold everything in place.

There you have it. Easy to do and fun to make, and your family and friends will love seeing how festive it looks at your front door. Our thanks to Emily Anglin at 36th Street Garden Center.  

Since it’s outside, your porch planter will stay green through the holidays and into the new year. But you can freshen up the greens on warm days by spritzing them with a little water.

Emily is teaching a class on making holiday porch planters this Saturday morning. There is a cost but it includes all of your supplies. And you must register by going online or calling 36th Street Garden Center.

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