Get the Look: Winter Color


Purple is a mainstay in all of Dennis Buttelwerth’s winter arrangements. He first saw the color used when he was on the staff that decorated the White House for Christmas during the Reagan era.

It’s in the same color family as the evergreens,” he says. “It’s just a wonderful color.”

Here, the purple ornamental kale is the show-stealer, with red-twigged dogwood, toyon berries and winterberry (deciduous holly) as supporting actors. They provide pops of color against a textural backdrop that includes Western cedar, incense cedar, German boxwood, juniper boughs, mountain hemlock, white pine, and Southern magnolia leaves.

This display will last all winter long—provided that unexpected winter heat spells don’t turn the magnolia leaves brown. Tuck winter plant materials directly into wet soil in containers. When the soil freezes, it will hold everything in place and keep the display crisp (no watering required).

A few lights are a fun addition, but avoid the garlands and ornaments to keep the design from becoming too Christmas-y.

Birds will eat the berries, so you’ll want to place the berries in the center of the planting. That way bird droppings will fall into the arrangement, not on your porch.


Photos by Lemos Photography, design by Dennis Buttelwerth.

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