Whether you are arranging a winter window box, a feature for your mantle, a decoration for your entryway or a table centerpiece, it is important to go overboard. That’s what people love about the holidays.
Have poinsettias if you must, and don’t hold back on the usual pine or balsam boughs. But delve into such less common, long-lasting greens as boxwood, holly, yew, ivy, rosemary and eucalyptus. If you are a pet-free household, try the toxic but beautiful house plant, the Lenten or Christmas Rose (Hellebore). Enjoy one indoors and later plant it outside. Even in frigid Boston, it can bloom all winter, especially if it has a blanket of snow.
Gather some natural materials—pine cones, seed pods, fallen branches. Such items are often lying around in city parks before the staff has collected them. Collect dried hydrangeas, roses and poppy seed heads. Douse some materials with copper, gold or silver spray to bring glitter to your design.
Whether you gather or purchase, realize that evergreens are easy to work with, and they last a long time. Their stems are firm. So you won’t always need a plastic product like a floral oasis to keep them in place.
Now arrange your creation. The rules apply to most containers, whether they are window boxes or table centerpieces.
Start with tallest stems of greenery, arranging them into the shape you want. Vary the foliage with at least three different leaf shapes, some large and some small. Let ivy or pine drape over the edges. If your arrangement is to be placed against a wall, arrange it to be viewed from one side only. A table centerpiece requires that you consider all sides. Start with the tallest stalks in the middle and turn the container as you fill in evenly with shorter greens. If you’ve sprayed some materials, put them in now. Finally, if your arrangement is to be used indoors, add fresh flowers to bring in color. As they wilt, you can replace them.
Step back and fill in the gaps.
You worry that your arrangement won’t be perfect? So what. Look for inspiration in shop windows, doorways, websites, Pinterest and Instagram. Then plunge in. Aim for abundance, not perfection. Make it fun and fabulous.