With this year’s early cold snap, many of our clients’ fall arrangements wilted before the holiday and we had to ramp up our winter interest arrangement installations. Personally, winter arrangements are my favorite because they look great during what is typically the landscape’s bleakest time of the year. We don’t even have a pretty blanket of snow yet, just the cold.
Having lived in a balcony-less apartment or in an apartment where my roommate did all the decorating work, I only knew the vague theory of creating a winter arrangement which isn’t enough knowledge when you go to build your arrangement. I sought out our flower operations manager, Tina Shaw, for a tutorial on building a Scott Byron & Co. winter arrangement and at the end I had two beautiful, and insanely heavy, arrangements.
Building a Winter Arrangement
1. Fill your pot with sand. Unlike arrangements for the rest of the year, winter arrangements use sand instead of soil. This really helps with getting the branches to stay put and allows for easy adjustments. Another lesson learned: if you have a large pot and have to move it after arranging, use large gravel or Styrofoam at the bottom to lighten the load.
2. Add the greens. Start with a green that has good structure. Generally the width and height of your arrangement should be about 1.5x the size of your planter so you’ll use these first greens to establish your size (I used Spruce branches). I went a little smaller, as you can see in the picture, because I had to wrestle these pots into my car and then back out once I got home. Anyway, choose a nice and full piece the height you want your arrangement to be (plus a little extra so you have enough stem to anchor it in the pot) and put it in the center of the pot. Add additional pieces, angling them out, to fill out the shape. You should be frequently stepping back and walking around your pot to make sure that it’s not coming out lopsided, too narrow, or with holes.
3. Add texture and keep filling. Choose additional greens to fill in between the Spruce branches and to add texture and variations of green to the arrangement. I used White Pine and Noble Fir branches to fill out the center of the arrangement and Cedar to fill out the base and add a dash of yellow.
4. Add your accents. Add accents to your arrangements – ornaments, ribbons, sticks, etc…. I used pine cones, Juniper , red seeded Eucalyptus, red melon balls, and Talloberry branches. Determine whether or not your arrangement is going to have one front or if it will be viewed from all sides, making all sides “fronts”. Think of arranging your accents in terms of three for balance. You’re kind of making a visual triangle so that your eye moves around the arrangement. Also, make sure not to overcrowd your accents. You don’t want them to be blocking each other.
5. Rotate and adjust. Walk around your arrangement. Stand back, review, and make your final tweaks. Do you see any holes that need more greens or more accents? Is it evenly shaped or is it visually heavier on wide side than the other. Adjust as needed, eliminating and adding until it’s just right. Clip any branches that may now look unruly or too long. If you are going to clip any branches, make sure to clip them all the way back to the base of the arrangement otherwise you’re going to be looking at an ugly blunt end.
6. Place it with the best side forward. Unless you see the arrangement from all sides, choose the prettiest side where you will see it the most. If you have the unfortunate task of having to lift and move one of these arrangements after building it, remember bend with your knees and just hope that your arms and back don’t give out before you get it to where it needs to go. If you’ve built it exactly where you want then you are done. Congratulations on your new, stunning winter arrangement!
If you find your home in need of a beautiful arrangement to liven up your front entry, or any other place, give us a call. It’s never too late to add some winter interest to your landscape.