Gardening With What You Have

From Forlorn To Festive in 5 Simple Steps

Christine Froehlich 12/13/2018 Comments

This urn is the focal point of my front garden, or I should say - was.  Without the plants and dripping rivulets of water, it looks naked and forlorn. Unfortunately, this thing isn't weather proof. It's made of glazed terracotta that has to be be protected from ice and snow. 

 unplanted urn


Sigh - this is not what I want to look at all winter, but what's the alternative?


covering urns


The answer came to me unexpectedly. One of my neighbors was pruning his evergreen hedges and offered me some of the greens. Such an unexpected windfall! I knew I could do something wonderful with them. 


truck load of evergreens


I thought about tucking them into the bungee cords to cover the tarp, but then I spotted a wire tomato cage I had forgotten to put away and it gave me an idea. I mounted it on top of the urn, attached it with bungee cords, wired the top together and voila - a perfect Christmas tree shape.  Notice that I secured it on all four sides to keep it even. You need lots of bungee cords for this job!


securing coverage on urn


The evergreens I used are arborvitae (Thuja plicata) and leyland cupress (Cupressus x leylandii). The branches are thick and easy to layer. I'm grateful that my neighbor cut these into such long lengths (3- 4 ft). I could have worked with shorter branches but I would have had to do more wiring and it would have taken longer - an important factor when you're working in the cold! 


You could use other greens such as pine or yew. I'd stay away from anything prickly such as juniper or spruce - too hard on the hands!   If you want to try this, you'll need a roll of green florist wire, bungee cords, something for a frame (the tomato cage was perfect, but you could wire stakes together), pruning loppers and a hand pruner for clipping greens.  


Step 1:


The two top layers were the most time consuming part because I had to get on a ladder to reach the top. I wired the greens tightly around it with the florist wire. 


evergreen christmas tree


Step 2:


I tucked the branches in tightly underneath the top ones and wired them to the tomato cage, going  around all four sides.


stuffing evergreens


Step 3:


Once I got it about halfway done, I had a fairly thick mass of greens and stopped wiring them. Instead, I stuffed the branches into the center of the cage and pushed them up under the others. 


stuffing evergreens


Step 4:


By the time I got to the bottom, it was easy -  I tucked the greens into the bungee cords to secure them and kept going all the way to the ground so the tarp wouldn't show.


stuffing evergreens


Step 5:


Ta da, my faux Christmas tree! I wired 2 big red bows to the top of the tree to cover up the twiggy tips. Lights are next.


evergreen tree


With a little dusting of snow, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 


snow-covered christmas tree


For those of you who might want to try a smaller version, here's one I made by wiring greens to a wrought iron tutuer I already had in the container (this one is frost proof). My daughter called my creation 'cousin it,' but I like it.


cousin it


I love the idea of recycling greens to make something practical and beautiful. Gardening with what you have, right?  Although I started out with the idea of decorating for Christmas, the tree theme is really growing on me. in fact, I've almost forgotten about the urn. Not bad for a winter gardening peoject.

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