|my holiday winter whiskey barrel container|
Anyone who has done any floral designs or who is more crafty than me might know about floral foam, but for me, a newbie, it was a revelation. Ah, this is the magic behind it all! I used wet floral foam, often sold under the brand Oasis, as I want my greens to last as long as possible. I just stuck two brick of wet foam on top of each container, securing them to the soil by sticking a piece cut from a wire hanger down into the middle of it.
Some notes about floral foam for fellow newbies: there is wet floral foam and dry floral foam, and you could probably use either here. You can find them at pretty much any arts and crafts store. To use the wet kind, fill up your sink with water and just set the foam blocks on top of the water. They will slowly absorb the water and sink to the bottom. (It is good to do it this way as opposed to just dunking them into the water to avoid getting air bubbles in it.) After it is wet, it is easy to cut if you need to cut it down to your container size.
The one drawback with the wet floral foam is that it is not good to keep putting stuff in it and then taking it back out, as it will start to crumble. So you want to have a good idea about what you are going to put in it and where before you start. Dry floral foam can be more forgiving.
I first stuck white pine branches in a ring around my whisky barrels, as it was what I had the most of and it spilled nicely over the edges.
After a bottom layer of white pine, I started to layer my other greens (fir, Hinoki cypress, and boxwood), sticking them into the sides of the floral foam.
Then I placed my tall "thriller" pieces: branches cut from shrubs out in my woods that I spray-painted white. (Thank you, Karen, of Quarry Garden Stained Glass blog, who was my inspiration. She is the spray-painting queen of containers!)
I picked white because that was the spray paint I happened to have, but I think red or even silver or gold would have looked quite nice in these containers. After that I stuck many of the small pieces of evergreens into the top of the foam to fill it up and hide the foam. Then came the decorations to give it some color!
The second trick I learned this year was to use wooden floral picks. Also found at any arts and crafts store, they come in a variety of sizes, and it makes it a cinch to attach ornaments, pinecones, lengths of ribbon, or whatever else you need to the arrangement. Just attach the decoration onto the wire end and then stick the wooden pick into the floral foam.
I hope this helps any floral arranging newbies like myself! Happy gardening...
...or in this case, happy decorating!