I've never really been the type to go all out at Christmas, at least not when it comes to decorating the outside. I do my best to create tasteful displays of soft live greens, cuttings from the garden, pine cones, red dogwood branches, and as of last year, osage oranges. It's a simple and natural sort of display that I can safely leave up until it's time to replace it all with daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths.
Here you can see the variety of things pushed down into the large pot outside the front door of CDLV. Blue Spruce, Frasier Fir, White Pine, and Arborvitae, along with Boston Fern (which eventually turn a wonderful shade of caramel) dried hydrangeas, giant sugar pine cones all the way from California, and red dogwood branches.
This summer I found these beautiful concrete urns at Lowes for just $19/each. They're beautiful and heavy, and look great on either side of the door. I adorned them with moss in the summer that has now turned blonde, and then did similar arrangements in them, with the addition of my absolute favorite natural decorating accessory: Osage Oranges!!
Do you see it, dead center of this picture? It's lime green, nubby texture is just perfect for combinations like this, and I lucked out finding them at a farmers market this morning. I first found osage oranges during one of our trips to Chadds Ford, PA.. Driving along the back roads on our way to Winterthur, I saw tons of them laying on the road, and in the ditch to either side. I immediately pulled over, and started looking for a bag in the trunk to collect as many as I could for CDLV. Unfortunately we didn't get to Chadds Ford this early winter season, so I thought I'd have to live without them ... til' this morning. I guess if it's meant to be ... it's meant to be!
Here you can see how the moss has turned a wonderful shade of honey, and all of the different textures used in the urn's arrangement. I know that fern seems like an odd choice, and I'd agree with you. But when I saw this giant Boston fern for FREE at the local farmers market, I had to take it home and work it in. I was able to cut it into several pint sized pieces and stuff it into the urns before then filling with the fresh greens. I think that combination is beautiful and textural, a little unexpected, but pretty inspiring.
In fact, I think that it's the mixture of all the texture that makes these arrangements so beautiful. And though they look like they took forever and cost tons of money, most of these items were collected from the garden, and gathered for free from Tree Farms. Here's a tip: Most big box stores and tree farms keep the trimmed branches from their trees in large bushel baskets for you to pick through and take for free to build wreaths, swags, and displays like mine. Our local Lowes is a great place to pick up Frasier Fir boughs.
They also only take 20 minutes or so to throw together, just make sure to have a pair of pocket trimmers ready, and bing bam boom:
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the outside of CDLV this Christmas. I'm sorry I've concentrated the whole thing on the porch, but it snowed while I was away, and the melting patches just don't give a very inspiring point of view.
Tomorrow, we'll journey inside to see this year's tree(s).