I love having some fresh greenery in pots to decorate my porches during the holidays. They are a simple and classic way to decorate, and the smell of real pine just adds to their charm.
Practically every garden center, big box store, and grocery has them for sale at this time of year, but the prices can be quite high. Last year, I saw them at Costco the week before Thanksgiving for a great price, but I thought it was too early, so I passed it up.
The week after Thanksgiving, when I went back to get one, of course they were all gone with no more coming in. Rookie mistake. Costco is known for bringing in massive quantities of an item, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.
I ended up buying one from Earl May (a local garden center) instead, and paid $50 or $60 for it, which felt a little pricey, but it was reallllly cute. Even though I felt like it was overpriced, it came with several adorable little embellishments tucked amongst the greenery. My favorite was a snowman made out of birch wood circles, but it also contained some flocked pine cones, some birch branches, and a red berry pick.
At the end of January, when the pot was looking kind of dried out and tired, I decided to pluck out and save all the embellishments and the pot, too. I just threw away the now-brown pine branches, and tucked the rest of the pieces away in the garage.
Make your own pot at a local garden center…
Then, this year, I saw on Facebook that a garden center right near our house (Ted Lare for those of you who are local) was advertising a “make your own porch pot” session on a Saturday in mid November. To make it even more appealing, the advertisement said you could bring any of your own supplies that you wanted to use, and you’d only be charged for the soil and greenery that you selected from the nursery. Perfect!
So that Saturday, I brought my leftover embellishments from the previous year, and my own pot and headed to Ted Lare Garden Center. It ended up being so much fun! It was a “drop in” session rather than by appointment, and they had all the materials set up in their greenhouse, so even though it was chilly outside, it was perfectly comfortable in the greenhouse, and it smelled divine! They had big bins of all different types of greenery, each marked clearly with the price per bough. The prices were very reasonable, too! Just $3 or $4 per branch, and the branches were big, so for the smaller sized pot I was making that day, I was able to cut them in 2, or even 3 pieces to fill out my pot better. They even provided the branch trimmers for us to use!
They had a variety of embellishments available for purchase, and several different pots you could buy, so you could have walked in and started a pot from scratch. But when I arrived with some of my own materials, they gave me a clipboard with all of the items they had for sale listed, and as I used something of theirs in my pot, I just checked it off on the sheet.
When I was all done, I took my completed pot and my checklist to the register to pay. I ended up only using their soil ( 75 cents per scoop x4 scoops) and 3 different greenery branches ($3-$4 dollars each x 3). So with tax, my total was right around $15 dollars! And I ended up with a pot even fuller and with more variety in the greenery than the one I paid almost $60 for last year, with the same little cute birch wood snowman! (I got a lot of compliments on that snowman, too, because while Ted Lare had lots of cute embellishments for sale, they didn’t have anything like that!)
This is a very economical and fun way to make a porch pot, because you can easily get 2 or 3 years out of these embellishments before they start looking worn, maybe even more if they are in a more protected area of your porch and not fully exposed to the weather.
Plus, you can craft the pot to be exactly how you want it! When I got home, I added my own buffalo plaid bow and displayed it on a couple of tree slices left over from the centerpieces at my wedding a couple of years ago.
“Restyle” a less than lovely purchased porch pot…
After putting this little beauty together, I decided I’d like to have a couple more, even bigger ones this year, too. Last Christmas, we had only been in the new house a few months, and didn’t have any landscaping yet. This year, after completing some summer projects outdoors, I had the perfect place in mind for a bigger pot of greenery right in the front of the house.
Also last year, we put a smaller artificial lighted tree in our three-season porch, and this year we both said it would be nice to have the smell of fresh pine when we were relaxing out there, so I decided we needed not one, but two more pots.
Just like last year, we went Costco to see if we could snag a couple of theirs, and also just like last year…. they were already out, again. But they told us they’d be getting more on Wednesday, and my husband happened to be off that morning, so he went and grabbed two. And I do mean grabbed. According to him, people were carting those suckers out like crazy, and I’m sure it’s because comparatively speaking, they are cheap. Costco sells their pretty big sized pots for $29. The one I bought last year was half the size, for twice the price at Earl May.
But, I do need to add that the pots at Costco are clearly mass produced and quickly tossed together. They lack the charm and thoughtfully-planned assembly of the more expensive pots you might find elsewhere. In fact, when I got a look at them after work that day, they were actually kind of sad looking.
See what I mean? Cheap black pot, all the greenery just jammed in there, everything sort of leaning awkwardly to the side? Sad. But, there was a good amount of greenery included, a birch branch, some red berries, some twigs and a couple of pine cone picks. All in all, a pretty good value for 29 bucks. It was just lacking some TLC.
But that we can fix!
I set about disassembling both pots. I used a much larger pot of my own, which had housed some lovely summer flowers, and then later a fall mum, so it was still filled with dirt.
I took all of the greenery out of one pot, and several pieces out of the second. Because this pot was so big, it required much more greenery to fill it out and make it look substantial. I tucked and arranged until I had it how I wanted.
When it looked proportionately right, I added the embellishments that came in one of the pots. Then I added my own bow with my favorite buffalo plaid ribbon again. I bought this huge roll of ribbon at Costco last year, and it I’m still ribboning all kinds of things with it!
After the bow was placed, this big pot still seemed like it needed something else. I wanted to save some of the embellishments for the other pot I was still going to make for the three-season porch with the rest of the greenery, so I couldn’t use those. For a moment, I thought about running up to the nearby garden center and buying a couple of the pine cone picks I had seen there the previous weekend when I assembled my smaller planter, but they wanted $6 each for those.
Then I remembered some pine cones I had tucked away in one of the Christmas boxes in the basement.
This pot will take a lot of wind being exposed in the front of the house as it is, so just laying the pine cones in the greenery wasn’t a good idea. So, I improvised using some barbecue skewers and hot glue!
After finishing the big pot, I used the leftover greenery to assembly a slightly smaller one for the three-season porch. This time, I just set the ugly black pot it came in right inside a better pot that I already had.
Of course, this one got a buffalo plaid bow, too. And some more tucking, arranging and embellishment-adding.
Since this one will be more protected inside our porch, I added battery operated fairy lights and a red cardinal from the Dollar Tree.
Here is the final result.
The moral of this story…
Making your own porch pot is more economical, fun, and customizable.
Purchasing a less-than-fabulous-but-better-priced pot from some place like Menards or Costco can save you a lot of money, yet still allow you to have a one-of-a-kind pot if you dress it up with your own embellishments.
So before you toss out any pots you may have purchased this year, remove all those embellishments and save them for next year!
And if you make a pot of your own, leave me a picture in the comments. I would love to see them!