DIY Winter Greens Baskets
Hanging baskets in winter? You bet! The trend of winter greens hanging baskets has certainly taken off, so hopefully you’ve saved your scruffy, tired-looking moss hanging baskets from summer, because they’re the perfect canvas for gorgeous winter baskets!
Filled with fresh greens, colourful berries, and the décor of your choice, they will stand up to the cold weather and, when properly hydrated, look fresh for weeks! The secret is to use a 12 or 14 inch wire basket frame lined with lots of lush green moss and packed with moist soil or peat. Leftover summer baskets work particularly well because the roots from your finished summer annuals will hold the greens stems in place really well (just remember to cut off all the leftover stems/vines before starting to work on your Christmas basket!). If you don’t have a moss basket, smaller plastic hanging baskets will work fine too, you just won’t get quite the same ‘globe’ effect.
Find yourself a high table or raised platform to work on, so that you can monitor and adjust the shape of your creation as you work. Being able to view your basket from all angles, instead of just looking down on it, is preferred so that you can fill in any holes as you go. You want a nice, rounded form, with evenly spaced, cascading branches.
Next, cut fresh greens about 12 inches long and firmly set the ends into the basket so the top sides hang down gracefully. Make sure the greens are secure enough to withstand wind. Don’t cut your branches too long, but rather try for a balanced, graceful appearance.
The type of greens you use will vary according to availability and the winter weather in your area. We use lots of cedar, but in colder areas, you may have to use spruce and pine. You can certainly mix two or three greens together, but for the most pleasing effect, the basket should have a natural, rather than a contrived look. You can also select stems from your own garden to really tie your whole outdoor aesthetic together! Start at the bottom and work your way up. On top, keep the branches rather flat to cover the basket rim, but also have a few with some height (again, you’re looking for a rounded effect.)
Now comes the creativity. First decide the ‘look’ you want, then have some fun! For natural baskets, try burlap or raffia bows in the centre with long tails hanging over the sides. Coloured huckleberry or dogwood stems add a nice, natural pop of colour. Berries, either fresh or artificial, look wonderful tucked here and there all around the basket, but be sure to make them look like they belong. Pine cones add a classy touch if you wire the ends and set them in so they hang just a bit. Use white tipped cones because they show up so well. For some Christmas glitz, use gold, silver, or beautifully toned ribbon, stem balls, or whatever else you need to create that special look. It is really quite easy. Finally, if you want to light up the night, find a small set of outdoor LED lights (battery operated micro lights are fantastic too!) and weave it amongst the greens. Your basket will look amazing!
In terms of care, very little is needed. In sunny or windy weather, misting the greens with a bit of water and keeping the soil moist is required to keep them hydrated and fresh. The beauty of soil and moss is their moisture-retaining ability and the weight they provide to keep the basket from being blown around by the wind. Should we be forecast to have extreme wind, however, you might want to take your basket down and shelter it until the weather improves.
Winter greens baskets add a touch of warmth, grace, and seasonal charm over the holidays, but they can brighten up the darker days and cold and dreary months of winter too. Once the Christmas season is over, take out the Christmas novelties, put a bird feeder on top, and leave the basket out as a neat feeding station!