Tag Archives: Holidays

Fine Festive Foliage

Some leaves are simply more ‘Holiday ready’ than others. Here’s what we look for ;

  • Doesn’t drink too much
  • Naughty or nice (but not too naughty!)
  • Looks good with bling
  • A fun party host and is good at mingling

And the winners are…..

1. ‘Rainbow’ drooping fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’)

Rainbow Leucothoe in Winter

This glitzy lady knows how to get all gussied up. Evergreen, deer resistant (those wretched creatures are terrible gatecrashers), drought tolerant and can take center stage or be a regular party guest.

2. Angelina stonecrop (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’)

Copy of July 2011 Peace Tree Farm 211

Decked out in gold and copper this girl knows how to bring the bling. Evergreen, tea-total and great at just hanging out (or over) – be sure to have this succulent in your party pots

3. Scallywag holly (Ilex x meservae ‘MonNieves’ )

IMG_0511A cousin of Little Rascal, this holly isn’t nearly as naughty as you’d expect. Knows how to wear that little black dress and looks great with gold or silver accessories. Those party-pooping deer leave Scallywag alone too.

4. Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)



The Queen of Elegance, dusty miller knows how to wear sexy silver lace. Have you noticed how many times her velvety outfit gets stroked? Keeps her drinking to a minimum but loves to play with others whether its a black tie gathering or something more colorful.

5. Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)

IMG_0447it’s important to have a mix of personalities at any party so this soft feathery fern is a great one to have on the invitation list. She does drink a little more than the the other guests but she handles it well and without excess. Gold and copper highlights add an olde world charm to any gathering.

The BIG Bling

silver ball

Need a little extra glitz? Save a few glass balls from the tree and tuck them into containers and window boxes together with some extra large pine cones.


Maybe add a few sparkly stems and little ornaments too.


For more ideas on how to dress up those containers enjoy our post from last year showcasing work from our friends around the country.

So what are your containers wearing this year? Tell us all about them and we’d love to see photos on Facebook.


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Need Some Winter Foliage Inspiration?


Then head to your local independent garden center! We are blessed with an abundance of first class nurseries in the Seattle area. Staffed by professional horticulturalists, keen home gardeners and part time designers you can always be assured of finding a great selection of plants, expert advice and most importantly at this time of year – ideas!

I wanted to freshen up the containers on my front porch this weekend and had planned to gather greenery and holly from the woods at the back of the property. Only one problem – they are covered in a few inches of frozen snow which doesn’t seem to be melting anytime soon. I can also usually dig up a few things from the garden to tuck in such as young evergreen shrubs and trailing periwinkle but that isn’t possible either. So when the ice melts on the roads a bit I’ll be heading out to a nursery to gather my ingredients.

Here’s what I found at Sky Nursery in Shoreline, Seattle last December.

1. Oval metal planters

Designer credit; Stephanie, Sky Nursery

Designer credit; Stephanie, Sky Nursery

Why it Works

Simple and elegant this design has a crisp green, red and white color scheme with a few tasteful metallic accents. Notice how the silver sprays echo the washed grey metal containers- great attention to detail.

Foliage Framework

Young upright conifer

Small evergreen fern

Green and white variegated grass

Bright green moss to hide the soil


Jacob hellebore

White pansy

Red cyclamen (also has great foliage)

Berried wintergreen (small glossy evergreen leaves too)

Decorative silver spray stems

Sheer gold ribbon

2. Round birch pot

Designer credit; Stephanie, Sky Nursery

Designer credit; Stephanie, Sky Nursery

Why it works

The rustic pots leads the design style here. All foliage and flowering elements follow a simple monochromatic green and white theme with only the bow adding a touch of contrasting color

Foliage Framework

Dwarf mounding conifer

Green and white variegated euonymus (Euonymus f. ‘Emerald Gaity’)

Silver icicle plant (or substitute a silvery lavender)

Grey Spanish moss to trim the pot


White cyclamen (gorgeous green and white foliage too)

White pansy

White flocked branches

Sheer burgundy bow

3. Tiered fountain

IMG_1166This design would only work if the fountain was in a covered courtyard – otherwise the tiers would fill with water and rot the plants. However we can still get ideas for plant combinations to add to our containers out in the garden.

Why it Works

All three tiers have a common color scheme yet use different plants to get the effect.

Plants are repeated around each tier for a unified look

Foliage Framework and Accents

Top tier;

Green and white variegated grasses

Berried wintergreen

Green and white trailing ivy

Middle tier;

Silver Astelia (the grass-like plant with wide blades)

Deer fern

Icicle plant

White pansies

Lower tier;

Soft burgundy coral bells

Green and white trailing ivy

White pansies

4. Final Flourishes

IMG_1197Look past the large number and varieties of plants here to get ideas for adding the fun factor.

The tiered stand to the left could easily be a re-purposed pot stand, or perhaps an old kitchen produce holder. Each section is lined with moss as you would a hanging basket then filled with soil and plants.

The tall green pot may not be planted at all and just acting as a pedestal. There appears to be a ‘nest’ of wood excelsior that is acting as the shallow planter. Placed over the top is a rusted metal frame. Is it a hanging basket frame placed upside down? Or a cloche without the protective fabric or glass? Or a cake dome??? I’ve no idea – but maybe I have something in the barn like this that I can use. Do you? A few thin twisted branches have been inserted too, helping keep the arrangement loose.

Ready to go shopping?


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