As a former landscape designer (not a landscape architect, but someone who determined what and where to plant in our client’s gardens) I often focus on the natural plant materials we gravitate towards during each of the seasons and holidays.  Not just as living plant material, although some of these do make beautiful landscape plants in the right garden, but the greens that we tend to use in planters (outdoors and in) and table, door and mantle decorations.

It isn’t just about the trees…

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12

although that is the scene stealer in most homes this time of year…

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12There’s some great inspiration out there in blogland right now but the site that got the ball rolling for this post was a visit to one of my favorite sites, Debra at 5th and State.  She posted a tutorial on how to plant outdoor urns and planter boxes.  Debra is a talented landscape designer and I believe she owns 2 or 3 shops.  I first found her site during this time about 2 years ago and her topic inspired me to work on my entry urn and planter box.

I’ve worked on our urn since this early attempt (below) at copying the examples provided via 5th and State.  Even this early, unrefined display was a vast improvement from the boring plant I used to have in this spot. (It’s the old “cobbler’s children have no shoes” around here).  The Ilex berries are fake but they offer a spot of color at the front door.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Garden, Home and Party, 2010}

That same year I planted my metal planter box with red ivy geranium, I should have known better, they complete their blooming cycle just before Christmas!

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.112

{5th and State}

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{5th and State}

Here is my urn for this season…

2012, urn, December{The Mother Fern is so happy I didn’t have the heart to change it out for a plant that might be more seasonal.  I added the Ilex berries and pine cones to create a holiday feel to it.}

2012, puti, lantern{I also gave our concrete puti a hat for the season.  The Ikea lantern got a couple of candles, some faux snow and an antique elk}

Close up of lantern, 2012{notice the antique elk is missing most of a leg, I rescued him from an antique store}

Mailbox 2012{Even the mailbox is dressed for the season}

Our entry during the day…

Entry, 2012, daylight…and at night

Entry, 2012, night

Other greens and plants that are popular this time of year are boxwood.  I love them year round, but I was happy to see that Trader Joe’s offered a 22″ boxwood wreath this month for only $9.95 (thanks for the heads up, Glenys).

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Home Bunch}

Even the use of hydrangea, as we see below when mixed with maiden hair fern takes on a holiday flair.  It’s wonderful to see plants other than the traditional poinsettia being used for the holidays.  I still love poinsettia, especially when I can find the white ones, but there are some fabulous options.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{The Polohouse}

The use of birch logs in these urns really give it a wintery look that could easily be on display through the winter months, not too Christmasy, but festive.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{The Polohouse}

Fruit is something that really lends itself to this time of year.  Citrus of any kind, apples and pears…Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{The Enchanted Home}

{Haus Design}

This months cover of Veranda featured greens that I can’t really identify.  They resemble eucalyptus, but the apples, greens mix beautifully with the rustic wood walls and beams juxtaposed against the French mirror, screen and portrait.  This is one of my all time favorite magazine covers.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Veranda ~ December 2012}

These ivy topiary and foxglove on the hearth look seasonal due to the roaring fire in the fireplace, but the plants could be representative of spring just as easily.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Inspired Design}

This boxwood garland is so pretty, I love the deep green color and if it’s the kind that has been treated, it will last forever.

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Style at Home.com}

Forced paper whites, white cyclamen and little juniper bushes, surrounded by cedar branches make such a pretty indoor vignette.Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{The Enchanted Home}

Garden, Home and Party 12.11.12{Ralph Lauren, Paris store}

Do you have a favorite where winter greens are concerned? 

I’m over at Savvy Southern Style, linking to her Wow Us Wednesdays, join in the fun if you have time.