by Jennifer Medina Salter, El Paso Master Gardener
This is not the time of year that we typically think of our landscapes. We are busy getting ready for the holiday season and decorating our houses. Our landscapes are typically dormant, but we can still get a lot of use of what we would normally throw away into the trash at this time, so go into your yard and start looking around for your “trash” to turn your planters into a thing of beauty.
Several items that can be reused for holiday decorations are:
Rose hips and berries – Do not prune your dead rose heads towards the end of the season. Let them develop into to rosehips with their vibrant yellow and orange colors. These can be added to arrangements both inside and out of the home. A lot of bushes also put out berries at this time of year. Cutting a branch of two of red or green berries can add lots of color and texture to your planters.
Dead branches – Rather than throw away those dead branches, cut them to appropriate sizes and then spray paint them with holiday colors. These can then be stuck into planters to give color. Take a look around and gather those sticks that may have broken off from trees or blown into your yard. You can even collect these throughout the year and store them until needed.
Branches from pines and firs – The low growing branches that you want to remove or those that have fallen off the trees can be useful at this time. Also, if you purchase a live Christmas tree, you can use the lower branches that you cut off. Like the branches above, these too can be stuck into container plants to give texture and color.
Tumbleweeds – These can also be spray-painted and added to planters out in the garden.
Here is an idea for a holiday planter for the Christmas season:
Begin with a planter full of soil. Take those branches from the outside pine, fir, or live Christmas tree and stick them into the soil. Next get those branches that you have painted. Perhaps you can color coordinate with the planter. Choose a bright color as you will want them to stand out. (My favorites are white or silver as that color stands out against the greenery of the branches.) Then place the painted branches in the planter among the evergreen branches. Now add your rosehips, berries or any seasonal picks that you may have. You now have a wonderful, creative planter that came from your own (or a kind friend’s) backyard. While this planter should last through the season, expect the live branches to eventually dry out.
Feel free to adjust the branches, colors and accessories for different seasons.