by Rick Vuyst
Why should the seasons of spring and summer get all the fun when it comes to hanging baskets? A holiday basket can be made incorporating materials from the landscape along with some ornamentation to make a stunning display for porch or patio. The arrangements are a unique and festive welcome to guests who arrive and an enjoyable everyday sight for you. These holiday baskets use natural materials featuring aromatic boughs of evergreen and are inviting and attractive from November through February. As Jack Frost adds his natural touch in the cold months, your beautiful basket will glisten and dazzle.
Place the basket to be arranged in a pot on a table and add lightweight potting soil to provide the foundation for the stems and branches. Once placed outside, the soil that will freeze and hold the branches and stems in place for months. Next, as we do with spring planters, work from the center to the outside of the pot thinking, “thriller” in the center, “filler” as the next layer and then finally “spiller” in the outside rim of the basket. Branches for the basket should be cut at a 45-degree angle, making them easier to press into the soil until firmly in place.
Branches of Birch, Scotch Pine, Willow, Red or Gold Twig Dogwood are examples of “thriller” centerpieces in the basket. Work these first additions into the center of the arrangement.
Working toward the outside of the basket, fill with evergreen branches. Fraser Fir, Scotch or Austrian Pine, Douglas Fir, Colorado or White Spruce branches make excellent filler branches that will make up the bulk of the basket. These aromatic evergreens provide the gravitas for the visual mass of the holiday arrangement.
White Pine, with its long needles and nostalgic look, provide a perfect addition as they will crook or spill over the side, increasing the size of the basket well beyond its borders. Adding some Cedar or Juniper provides visual interest whether used to augment the filler portion of the basket or as a spiller.
Finally, give your basket a personal touch. Pine cones or berry stems provide a natural means of ornamentation. Unbreakable plastic ornaments can be wired to the branches. Florist wire available in many bright colors is easy to work with and can be woven throughout your arrangement adding additional interest. The addition of LED lighting in the basket will make it glitter in the nighttime hours, especially when nature adds the frosty touch. LED lights are available in miniature, so they subtly add to the feel of the basket without sticking out. You can avoid outlets or extension cords by purchasing battery operated sets to nestle between the branches of your basket.