Friday, December 18, 2015

Poinsettias & Other Holiday Decorations

Loree of danger garden posed a "poinsettia challenge" back on December 1st, asking bloggers to do something interesting with that much maligned holiday plant.  As I missed out on the prior ornamental cabbage and kale challenge, I vowed not to let this one pass me by.  Two of the pots next to our front door were sorely in need of replanting so I planned to kill 2 birds with the proverbial stone by using poinsettias in my pots.  Unlike colder parts of the country, poinsettias can survive outside in our climate, at least with some protection.

When I buy poinsettias, I usually get the yellow ones but I decided to shop around this year before making my selection.  I wanted something that would fit in with the the garden benches and other pots by the front door.  So, I dithered.  Then, having reached a decision on color, I returned to the mom and pop garden center that had my selected plants, only to find that the majority had already been cleaned out!  I didn't have time for a project reboot so I picked 2 plants that were similar in color but not identical in shape.  I got the rest of the plants to fill these pots elsewhere, which also resulted in some missteps.  In the end, I had too many plants for the pots and had to simplify.

Here are the 2 pots in a wide shot taken from the front walkway.

I choose coral-colored poinsettias that pick up the color of my door mat and the pillows that accent the nearby bench cushions.  My gnomes usually come out at Christmas time too and, as they're also maligned holiday hallmarks, I thought they made the perfect complement for my poinsettia challenge pots.


Here's a closer view of the pot #1:


This pot contains a coral poinsettia with ivory edges, Coprosma 'Evening Glow', and noID ferns.  A friend gave me the giant grasshopper ornament a few years ago and as its colors perfectly match the plant colors, it went into the mix.  My favorite gnome, riding a tortoise, is on point to go after the grasshopper should it sprint away.


And here's pot #2:

The gargoyle under the bench isn't really intended as part of the vignette - he sits there all year, although he gets a festive red bow at Christmas time

This coral poinsettia has multi-layered curved bracts that give it a rose-like appearance.  I used Coprosma 'Evening Glow' again but instead of ferns added Acorus gramineus 'Ogon' and a few cuttings of Aeonium'Kiwi'.  The gnome was picked up many years ago on a bargain sale, missing the fishing pole he was supposed to have in his right hand.  I gave him a clump of Aeonium arboreum to hold but he still looks disgruntled, doesn't he?  


I can submit only one photo in Loree's challenge.  Should I go with the wide view, pot #1 or pot #2?  Or do you have other suggestions on mixing it up?

The front door pots aren't my only Christmas decorations.  Here's a look at some of the rest:

A faux tree in the entryway is decorated with wood ornaments and glass bubbles meant to signify rain.  A friend gave me the raccoon figure last year as a joke in light of my ongoing struggles with the creatures.  My store-bought wreath is embellished with a bow and cuttings of succulents, Coprosma and Nandina berries from my garden.  Wood letters and snow globes decorate other areas of the house.
The tree's placement was an issue this year my husband won a long-standing argument over the addition of a recliner in the living room, creating tighter quarters.  The tree overlooks the backyard and the harbor beyond.



For me, nothing brings memories of the past to the surface more readily than Christmas ornaments, a point which Anna's Wednesday Vignette post at Flutter & Hum this week drove home.  Much as I appreciate the theme trees I see on display in various venues, my decorations are a mish-mash that includes family ornaments, gifts from friends, and collected items.  I haven't bought a new ornament in years but somehow I always have more than I can use.

The ornament on the top left was on the earliest tree I remember as a child and brings to mind my father, who died in an accident when I was 6.  The ornament on the top right was made for me by my stepfather, now also gone.  The Siamese cat in the middle of the second row was a gift from a friend, acknowledging the loss of my cat Ming last year - I surrounded him with mice angels I'd bought for myself years before.  The Santa gardener to the right was needlepointed by another friend.  The gold ornament on the bottom left was one of a group of ornaments my husband (the original scrooge) and I made in the early years of our relationship.


I know how crazy - and intense - the holidays can get but I hope you're taking time to enjoy them and to digest your own memories.  And, if you have any ideas on my poinsettia challenge submission, please pass them along!


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. I like pot #2 best, but I would exchange the gnome on the tortoise for the gargoyle

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    1. Thanks for commenting Jane! The 2 gnomes may have to duke out a role in the limelight.

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  2. I love the overhead shot of the coral poinsettia with the multi-layered bracts. Your gnomes are a fun holiday addition to your garden decor.

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    1. Gnomes have a place in the Scandinavian folklore I grew up with so I'm a bit more fond of them than many gardeners.

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  3. disgruntled (fish that got away) with ivory edges.

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  4. Hi Kris, who would have known that poinsettias could be so pretty! You really picked a wonderful variety!
    I would definitively go with photo #2 since the poinsettia has so much more impact in that photo than in photo #1.
    Nice to see your Christmas decorations. Sadly I haven't don't anything yet, because of my unexpected trip to Germany, but I hope to get some decorations up this weekend.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. I hope your mother is recovering well, Christina, and that you've been able to turn your attention to your holiday celebrations!

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  5. It feels a little wrong for me to vote on this, but since I'm not a judge...#2 from above. That poinsettia is to die for and looks lovely as you've featured it. As for the gnome with the Aeonium, chin up! You've got it pretty good young chap.

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    1. I don't think I realized how grumpy that gnome was until I look the photos for this post, Loree.

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  6. I agree. #2 from above! Lovely mixed planter.

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    1. Thanks for weighing in! Pot #2 definitely seems to have the lead.

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  7. Your pick of poinsettias was perfection itself. They really do pick out the colors of the pot and, door mat and bench cushions. Everything about you holiday decorations is a delight and as tot hat view-well. How come the chair isn;t placed for taking in the view? And -a recliner? I guess it's ben a long time since I went to a furniture store. Looks like pot 2 is getting plenty of votes.

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    1. The chair in the photo by the tree isn't the recliner - it's sitting outside the photo's frame and does face the view, now partially blocked by the "extra" chair, part of a matched set that formerly fit the space well. Marriage is a never-ending exchange of gives and takes...My husband would be perfectly happy with no Christmas tree (as I'd have been happy without the recliner) but instead we live with a tight living room space for a couple of weeks.

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  8. Wonderful decorations and I say do a collage of the pots ...isn't that one photo!

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    1. Ah, the rules didn't have a no-collage restriction, did they?!

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  9. I recently saw the same type of poinsettia with multi-layered curled bracts. They are astonishing; I had never seen that type before. I debated over those or another one, which had yellow freckles over its rosy bracts. I ended up choosing the freckled type, but I still think about the other. My vote is view of pot #2 that is in the collage. (not sure if that was a choice!) I love your decorations; your raccoon made me laugh! Have a very Merry Christmas! Deb

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    1. You and Donna have me thinking about submitting a collage, Deb! A very merry Christmas to you too!

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  10. Lovely decorations--the racoons--thought about hanging them from nooses? ;^) The gnome looks great with the Aeonium!

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    1. I'm trying to develop a more accepting attitude toward the raccoons, although their most recent rampage, which included upending one of my new Agave attentuata, did seriously threaten the calm with which I'm trying to face their periodic visits.

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  11. Your raccoon ornament/statue are very funny! Do you scream at them to vent your anger at the destruction in your garden? I love that your decorations carry such special memories. My vote is for the last large picture of pot number two because it best shows the coral color echoes of the aeonium, coprosma, and poinsettia and shows the form of the poinsettia beautifully!

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    1. If I start yelling at the raccoon decoration, I'm afraid my husband will have me committed. Pot #2 was the winner in the end, although I wasn't sure about how the collage thing would play under Loree's one photo rule so I went with a different view.

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