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"Just a mini-garden"

Susan Whiteley says, "It's just a mini-garden," when asked to explain how she thinks of designing her seasonal containers. Just, just. How come mine never look like hers? How much time do you have?

Susan, a member of the Four Counties Garden Club for the last decade and owner of Garden Views, a garden design and installation business in Newtown Square, created a slew of holiday containers for our interview today. They were really interesting.

One of my favorites looked quite simple - except I just never think of designs like that, which is why I get paid to write about people who do rather than do what they do! This one starts with a plastic pot from Home Depot. Now I know plastic has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi reputation, and I don't mean that in a good way, but these pots are fabulous.

Susan filled it with a 'Fat Albert' Colorado blue spruce, which she decorated with long cinnamon sticks tied with wired ribbon, copper-colored Christmas balls with both shiny and matte finish, and the tiniest white lights ever.

All around the base of the tree she used eucalyptus, which hangs down and will dry nicely. The color scheme is very blue-gray and coppery. Wow. "It's not complicated," Susan says, although the tree - meant to be used as an indoor Christmas tree, then planted outside - is very heavy and thus, not easy to move around the property, as Susan is fond of doing.

I'll be posting more about her great container designs and tips. Meanwhile, that phrase - "just a mini-garden" - is tormenting me. If only.