Maybe it’s all the Christmases of past that were spent in Williamsburg. Or the two trips to Germany and Austria when I fell in love with overstuffed window boxes. Maybe it’s the fact that we live in an old house with original shutters and window boxes that my Dad made. Whatever the reason, I have an overwhelming desire to hunt, gather and stuff this time of year…in a natural, green way. I feel that we owe the window boxes some companionship through the cold winter months when they miss their summer flowers.
As luck would have it, my neighbor cut down a large evergreen about a week ago. Don’t worry – it wasn’t this magnificent tree. We just borrowed a few branches from him. My friend Karen and I made several runs with the wheelbarrow down Main Street…and she magically transported empty concrete urns into works of art in front of the inn.
If you look around your yard, you may find the same – boxwoods that need to be thinned, scotch broom that should be cut closer to the ground so that it can withstand the harsh winter wind, holly trees that need shaping. It doesn’t take the best or biggest branches to make fat overstuffed window boxes and they are simple to do. Every scrawny twig finds its place to fill in the gaps. Just be sure to push the branches in securely so that they won’t blow away.
Boxwoods look great closer to the bottom and hollies are strong enough to stand proudly in the back. The shapes provide enough contrast to make it interesting. Water the dirt and your greens will stay fresh longer.
The window boxes seem to dress the house for winter and, once snow nestles between the branches, I think they help insulate and keep the draft down. A few beads, an occasional bird or decorative spray, wrapped by a ribbon and your house is decorated not only for Christmas, but will be looking good for several months to come.
In the summer, I love to throw open the windows and catch the breeze, but in winter, I feel comforted when I look out and the house is embraced by the branches in my window boxes!