The custom decorations department at Hyannis Country Garden is busy in November and December creating wreaths, swags, and outdoor arrangements. One of the most popular with our customers is a topper of greens in Oasis that can be set in a birdbath, on top of an urn or pot, and on outdoor tables. We do these up to our customers’ specifications, and always have a couple on display for walk-in clients looking for ways to dress up their porches, patios and decks for the holidays.
In this post we’ll show off a few of these arrangements that we’ve created in the past, and give you instructions for making your own.
Here is a topper that can be set into and urn or pot as well as an empty birdbath.
We typically have a few of these for sale on our patio, and we take orders from customers who want specific materials or colors.
This was one of two matching urn toppers created for a customer who wanted a Thanksgiving theme.
Water your topper well once a week to keep the oasis wet and the greens fresh. See how this topper was made, and how to create your own, in the photos below.
If these look appealing and you would like to create your own arrangements, here is how it is done. We have all of the materials you will need in the store, including a large assortment of greens and embellishments such as berries, cones, branches and shells.
You will need a rigid plastic saucer at least 12″ in diameter. Don’t use the flimsy ones because these toppers are heavy. You’ll also need two blocks of florist foam (Oasis), some florist tape or waterproof tape, mixed greens and a good pair of pruners.
Get about a pound of boxwood, a bunch of Port Orford Cedar, some Noble Fir, and two other greens that appeal to you. For this topper we used some sapphire cedar and some gold thread cypress. Juniper with blue berries is also a favorite, as is white pine.
Cut the corners off of the wet oasis (soak the blocks for at least a half hour in a bowl or sink filled with water) so that the blocks fit flat in the saucer. Then tape them in so that they are held securely. If you don’t tape the blocks onto the saucer your topper could tip out when you carry it outdoors.
Start with the Port Orford cedar. Cut at least 10 pieces that are 18″ long (seen here on the right) and another 20 that are 12″ long. You will use the other, smaller pieces later.
Begin by sticking the 18″ pieces all around the outside edge, poking them firmly into the sides of the Oasis.
Next, take the 20 shorter pieces and poke them in, some into the gaps between the larger ones around the sides, and some on the edges of the top of the blocks, draping over the greens below.
Now cut some pieces of Fir or another one of the greens you have on hand. (Note: save the boxwood for the end.) These pieces can be anywhere from 8 to 16″ long and can vary in length. Use some of the longest ones in the spaces between the cedar, sticking them into the sides of the florist foam blocks. See how they start to fill that lower layer?
Next take some of the smaller pieces of fir and poke them in around the edges of the block, angled out over the other greens. Note how the blue of the Noble fir contrasts with the color and texture of the Port Orford Cedar. Whether you are using greens from Hyannis Country Garden, those cut from your property, or a combination, aim for a variety of colors and textures of foliage.
Next, cut a few taller pieces of cedar and stick those in the center. You can make them about 18″ high, as done here, or you can keep the arrangement shorter.
Now fill in the places where you can see the oasis with smaller pieces of cedar and fir, and begin to add some other greens. In this arrangement the sapphire cedar came next.
Evenly distribute the other greens in and around the arrangement. Gold thread cypress was added here.
The final greens added are stems of boxwood. Cut these 8 to 12″ long and poke them into “the holes” or empty areas, again distributing them evenly around the arrangement. Look for any places where the saucer or Oasis show, and put a piece of boxwood there to fill those gaps. If you’re lucky enough to find variegated boxwood, that brightens these arrangements. You can use Pieris (aka Andromeda) or Rhododendron branches cut from your shrubs as well. The flower buds from male Skimmia are beautiful, as are branches of Hinoki false-cypress. Having a variety of materials for winter arrangements is another reason to plant an assortment of evergreens on your property!
You might like the topper with only greens, or you can embellish it with cones, starfish, pods, sticks, berries or silk flowers.
Toppers can be used on tables or urns as well as on bird baths. You can add lights (battery powered or plug-in) so that the arrangement is visible at night as well.
Water your topper well once a week to keep the oasis wet and the greens fresh.