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Gardener's Notebook: Do gardeners ever really take a break?

Let’s make tea, and chat about outdoor decorations for Christmas.
garden snow 72
Snow might mean shoveling walks, but it doesn't mean an end to gardening.

YORKTON - As of last week, the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society is on a ‘garden break’ until our next meeting in March 2024! 

Do gardeners ever really take a break?  I think we both know the answer to that!  But we have a break from meetings for a while; you can still continue to visit our website at for interesting news and photos!

Thank you to our members who came to our Christmas social and AGM; your support means a lot, and your enthusiasm is just great!  Member participation is what keeps a hort group ‘growing strong’.  Yes, gardening is sometimes a solitary pursuit, but gardeners love to get together and talk gardening and learn new things, so that why attendance at meetings is so important.   Picasso had a great quote: “What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”  So members, thank you for being there and making all the planning and organizing worth-while!

Let’s make tea, and chat about outdoor decorations for Christmas.  In the mail recently, there have been some exciting ideas about outdoor holiday containers.  As I mentioned to you, I have read some articles that talk about “woodland decorating”, which is a very pretty style indeed, using interesting branches and twigs right from our back yards.   And of course you know, I save a lot of gifts of nature like interesting twigs, pinecones, and cut branches that I think I might be able to use for a project.  I often save twigs that fall over the summer, especially if they have an interesting shape.  They are beautiful in fall displays, then do double-duty as we enter winter!

It is great fun to make an outdoor holiday container!  I like to think of them as really big flower arrangements!  Have you tried one?  Try one this winter!  Some things to think about: we need a sturdy container that won’t topple every time there’s a breeze.  For most situations, a plastic container is best.  Unless your arrangement is going in a sheltered entryway, ceramic could tip and break; and if you have a heavy clay pot that gets wet, they clay could crack once it freezes. 

Once a container is chosen, we need something to anchor our branches, twigs, etc.  With the mild weather we have been having, you may have a bag of soil that you can empty into your container.  Or use burlap stuffed in the base around your container items.  I prefer to use the burlap; it is neater and more forgiving and easier to shift around stems than soil would be.

Okay: container, done.  Stuffing, done.  Now we think about what we want to use.  I love the look of taller branches: white birch has become so popular, but you can use any twigs you have available.  If you’re feeling really creative, give them some splotches of acrylic paint here and there.  Take a tour through your garden and see what branches you can ‘harvest’.

Now: we have placed our branches in our containers, anchored them in place, what next?  This part is lots of fun!  You might want to further enhance the base with evergreen swags: wind them about the bottom of the twigs to make an evergreen “nest’.  Then add in bunches of silk poinsettias; large pinecones; clumps of faux berries; maybe you even have a garden ornament like a cheery gnome that you can tuck in among the branches!  Whatever you use, make sure that it is firmly wired in and attached to your large twigs.  If the planter takes a tumble, your creation won’t fall apart.

Really, your imagination is the limit!  Make it as simple or elaborate as you like but have fun!

And if you plan it carefully, you can remove the Christmas elements and leave your display up all winter!  Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work.  Gardeners, have a lovely week!