This has been, according to the meteorologists here in Boston, a pretty warm winter.
Despite a few cold days and a bit of snow, it hasn’t been horrible. And while this may be good news for us, it’s not necessarily good for our winter containers. Driving around town I notice that many greens have “browned” with the warm temps and sun.
Many beautiful containers, once the pride of the neighborhood, have given up the ghost.
If I listen carefully I can almost hear them whispering “help”.
Spring is over two months away so what do you do?
First, I always suggest you start with the right greens.
Noble fir, spruce, and balsam hold up. Pine and some of the fancier imported greens….not so much. By choosing quality greens (which I know cost a bit more) your containers and planters will look better for longer. Thereby allowing you more time to sit on the couch with the stack of catalogs you’ve been meaning to read for the last six months. Oh, sorry, I was thinking out loud.
If you did not use the right greens and your containers have a case of the “browns” you can do a few things. If less than 30% of the arrangement is brown don’t sweat it. Consider that it adds contrast. If you have to explain that to someone say it with confidence and they’ll buy it. However, if the majority of your container is kaput you can remove the greens (if the dirt is frozen just cut out the greens at soil level) and leave the branch material. What, you didn’t use branch material? I always suggest it for just this reason. If you have branches and your greens poop out you can remove them and just add moss or pinecones to the base to get you through to March.
If there is nothing salvageable in your containers, and the neighbors are starting to give you dirty looks, you may need to chuck the whole thing. Once again, if the soil is frozen and you cannot remove the greens just cut everything down.
See if any nurseries still have wreaths or garlands. Position a wreath flat, over the rim of your pot and fill the center with large pinecones or maybe a kissing ball. You can gather assorted twigs and branches and get them into the soil and fill in with floral moss. Find a large grapevine ball and pop it in your container.
You just want to avoid using silk poinsettias. Please.
By using the right greens you can avoid the “browns” and your winter containers will look great until spring.