Whether you’re filling window boxes, creating wreaths and swags, or making mantle and table arrangements, it’s helpful to use the following method. When filling containers, start with blocks of water-soaked floral foam. This green foam, often called Oasis and available at local craft centers, supermarkets and garden centers (be sure to get the oasis for “wet” designs), holds water and releases it to the greens as needed. It can be used outdoors in window boxes and pots, or inside in any container that is watertight.
If your window boxes still have dirt in them, nestle the soaked Oasis down into the soil. If you’ve already emptied the boxes for the winter, place the wet floral foam into plastic liners or use a plastic garbage bag to line wooden boxes before adding soaked Oasis blocks. For indoor arrangements, stretching two or three pieces of waterproof floral tape from the edge of the container across the foam blocks anchors the arrangement firmly in a dish planter.
Begin creating all arrangements with the needled evergreens. If you have white pine boughs, start with these—they are light in texture, but fill in a great deal of space. Cut the branches to the desired length and stick them into the floral foam, or use as is for the base of swags, wreaths, and roping.
After the white pine, add other needled evergreens using a mix of textures and colors. Next, add in broadleaf greens such as Rhododendron, Pieris, Euonymus, and holly for focal points.
Once all the greens are in place, look for other natural embellishments to add into the mix. Lichen-covered pine branches, often with pinecones still attached, are beautiful when added to window boxes and urns. Such twigs and boughs routinely drop off of pitch pines during windstorms.
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