I love decorating the entrances of the old house with what’s flowering at the moment.  And just in time for Easter, it just so happens that the humungous, wild bank of Forsythia behind the house is starting to burst into the most intense yellow.

Our main entrance to the old house is in back, on the East Patio, where two large whitewashed wooden planters are the focal points from the stone walkway. This sight line has to make a great first impression. Later in the spring through late fall, these planters are home to two fabulous triple boxwood topiaries (they winter indoors), but for now, they’re a great decorating opportunity for an early spring outdoor arrangement.

These planters are already filled with soil, so what I’m planning on doing is pretty easy. I harvest a big bucket of moss from the woods behind the house, and add a layer of it to the top of the soil. With pruning shears in hand, I cut a nice big bunch of Forsythia branches – making sure they’re on the long side. I also have a stash of faux Forsythia branches that I store in the barn that help bring structure to this arrangement. I guess you could say that my secret is in mixing the faux with the fresh.

Starting with the faux, using only 4 branches, I stick them into the corners of the planter. Then I fill in the four sides with the real Forsythia branches – keeping them to the perimeter.  Just like making a ponytail, I pull together the branches close to the top (at the top 1/3), and tie with a piece of twine. I finish it off by adding a wide ribbon and tying a big beautiful bow. (You can change out the ribbon, depending on the occasion. I started with a more delicate sheer organza ribbon, and a week later changed it to a rich satin one.)

One of the beautiful things I learned from making this ‘living’ arrangement is that that is exactly what it does – it lives! Even though the branches were cut (half of the branches were still in bud form), once I stuck them into the soil in the planter they kept blooming and then eventually leafing out!

You can do this in any container you may have on hand. This simple arrangement makes a great statement and will last a few weeks.

Happy arranging!

Love, Nora



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