Bringing the Outdoors In Through Winter

Wow, Christmas on Long Island is here and 2010 is quickly coming to a close. I write and write and am now beginning to get a consistent response to many of the articles and their topics. One of those articles Bringing the Outdoors In, May 10, 2010 has demonstrated some interest. Based on the interest I have found the motivation to write a followup article that will focus on how to bring the outdoors in throughout the winter.

When it gets cold on Long Island in the northeastern part of the United States most color fades and all that remains are the evergreens, woody ornamental stems, seed pods and some interesting stems form the ornamental deciduous trees. Each of these groups can be utilized individually for simplicity or through a combination of the choices, you can create arrangements of natures artwork. The key to whatever choices you make have to be based on form and texture. You also need to consider where your arrangement will be placed.

The easiest and most available group to begin with will be the evergreens. Norway and Blue Spruce, fresh off the tree will not only bring beauty but will bring fragrance. The only thing I need to ask everyone who will be cutting from live trees is that you consider how you will be cutting into the trees. Clean cuts with sharp pruning shears or strong hand saws would make me happy. Other evergreens that really have a demonstrated appearance are the Blue Atlas Cedar, the Cedrus Deodora Auria, some of the smaller Pine trees (especially with ornamental bark like the Japanese Red Pine (P. Dense flora) and  Red Pine (P. resinous) earn their common names from their rust-colored bark. The Chilgoza Pine (P. gerardiana) which is a close relative from the Himalayas, silvery bark that peels off in plates and long needles. It is hardy to Zone 6). Do not forget about the large group of Hinoki Cypress that bring a tremendous variety of green colors and textures to ornamental arrangements. Just be careful when taking from this group that you don’t take too much and alter it’s form. This last group is a very slow grower and is very expensive if replacement was needed.

There are other evergreens but the web can help you find them if you need. Everyone needs to keep in mind that you can use stems in many ways. You can peel them and shave them and use the shavings. You can use the needles in so many ways. Material can be used in entire groups or cut into pieces to create the desired effects you want. All the groups I will be discussing can be manipulated in a number of ways. The first time I would suggest keeping things simple and as you get more comfortable with the material and how they come together, become more adventurous.

Acer Griceum - Paper Bark Maple GREAT STEMS

The next group can be the woody ornamentals and the deciduous trees. This group includes the Climbing Hydrangeas, Winged Euonymus, Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus Stolenifera) and its yellow cousin Cornus Sericea ‘Budd’s Yellow’, a number of the Vibernums, and Japanese and other type maples such as Acer Griseum (Paperbark Maple), Acer Palmatum sango kaku (Coral Bark Maple), and all the snake bark Maples.


For this last group you need to go on a search and destroy mission. The ornamental grasses, bamboo, fern and flower seed heads. I will not go into this entire group because it is for another article but I can say, as you go searching for material in the winter landscape bring your camera and capture those images, that may, in the future benefit your indoor life. The one interesting ornamental element I will mention will be an element most people do not posses on their own property. It is the frond from the Ostrich Fern. If you don’t have this on your property find a partly sunny area on the east side of some tree and plant some of this wonderful material. I will take some winter pictures to show the inexperienced what it looks like. By the way, there are so many things I am inexperienced in, if anyone wants to teach me something new, please don’t hold anything back.

Ostrich Fern lit with EARLY SUMMER sunlight (lower right corner)
Winters Early Morning Sky (New York)

Pictures will follow shortly as I hope this helps those searching for a starting point. OMG, I forgot to mention do not be afraid of combining cut flowers from the store, fake flowers and branches as well as some indoor plant cuttings to enhance your indoor color/form/texture experience.

One More Reason To Plant Trees NICE VIEW

Have a great time being creative.

There is that which is art and that which we conceive as art.

Share your creations with others and let them help you form your craft through their opinion.


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