With perennial borders all but spent and autumn leaves putting on the big show, attention in the front garden is focused on the home entry. Using materials gathered from the garden and discounted end-of-season perennials, create this welcoming seasonal display to provide color, interest and a focal point for your fall and winter garden.
While it would certainly be possible to buy everything required fresh from the garden center and spent upwards of $100, the frugally-minded and moderately resourceful should be able to pull together needed items for $20 or less. Look around your home or tap friends and family for items they may no longer need to bring your project in for the lowest possible budget. Feel free to improvise or adapt based on what materials you have to work with.
For each pot, you will need:
A. A decorative garden pot or other container, about 16-18″ in diameter.
B. An assortment of smaller pots, bricks, rocks or scrap wood for props.
C. A bundle of large grass, twigs, or other tall material.
D. An upright potted plant, preferably with color.
E. A trailing plant.
F. Two small filler plants, preferably with color.
G. Three or four small pumpkins, squashes or other gourds.
Remember, this is for one pot–you have to double the amounts for two.
Step 1: Assess your space.
What size and type of containers you want to look for will depend on the specifics of your entry. For example, I have an asymmetrical entry. To the right of the door there is a nice spot for a pot, but to the left the landing drops off immediately to stairs. The next available spot for a good-sized pot is 8″ lower. So for my display, I knew I was going to need either one tall pot and one short pot or some kind of base for one of the pots.
Step 2: Gather materials.
Resourcefulness and bargain shopping are key here. Here’s where I found my materials and what they cost:
- Decorative garden pots. I happened to have a tall pot and a short pot with similar colors and shapes in the shed, not being used. You could also use galvanized pails, terra cotta pots, some scrap wood nailed together or even plain black plastic nursery pots wrapped with raffia or twine. $0.
- Assortment of pots, bricks, etc. I just happened to have a random selection of these kinds of things in my shed. $0.
- Bundles of large grass. My Mom has a row of tall zebra grass in her garden. About this time of year she cuts it down for the season, so I was able to snag several bundles of grass from her. You could also use pampas grass, fountain grass, or something completely different like corn stalks or twigs pruned from a tree or shrub. $0
- Plants or plant materials. I found what I needed at a local big box store garden center in the end-of-season clearance racks. Some of them were a few bucks, but since they are perennials that I will be planting in the garden next season, it was money well spent. For the upright plants I got two one gallon agastache (hummingbird mint) for $4.27 each. For the trailing plant I found two orange sedge in one quart pots for $1.74 each. And for the fillers I got four 4″ burgandy mums at an amazing $.25 each. Total: $13.02
- Small pumpkins/squashes. I bought these at the local grocery store. I used two smallish pumpkins that were $.50 each, two mini-pumpkins that were $.59 each, four unusual gourds for $.69 each and my big splurge, a white and orange striped mini-pumpkin for $.79. Total: $5.73
My total project total was $18.75, but that includes $13.02 of plants that will go in the garden permanently. Worth it to me.
Step 3: Load in the plants.
First, place the large bundle of grass into the large pot in back. Wedge it in with an upside down pot or other medium-sized item that will also create a shelf. Next add the upright plant in the middle back. Arrange the trailing and filler plants around the edge. If you have asymmetrical plants like I did, have one pot mirror the other. Make sure to leave a space in front. Fill the space with bricks or scrap wood up to the rim, making a shelf to pile the pumpkins and gourds.
Step 4: Add the Pumpkins
Start with your largest pumpkins or gourds in front and arrange the rest around it until it makes a pleasing display.
Step 4: Refresh and Rotate
As the display begins to deteriorate, give it a holiday season refresh by replacing the grasses with twigs and pushing the cut ends of evergreen clippings into the potted plants for the rest of winter.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this project. If you decide to do this or another seasonal entry project using materials from your garden, let me know!