Winter Pots with Chris Kurt… Jee… Um… Chris Curtguhje… uh Chris Kertguhjee.

December 18th, 2009

As strange as it may seem, winter is one of my favorite seasons at work.  And it’s not just because there isn’t very much to do so I have more time to stare into space.  And it’s not just because Myra, Melissa, Darla, Cassie, and the other Cassie are always bringing in delicious homemade goodies.  And it’s not just because Jan and Erin bring up the poinsettias from the head house and fill up the vacant greenhouse that was so empty and sad.  But it’s also because we get to make real Christmas wreaths made from real evergreen boughs and we also we get to make winter pots!  I love winter pots.  The day that Dave and Carl and Chris deliver the freshly cut greens from the farm where all of the shrubs and trees are grown, I dance around like a cockeyed maniac who should be behind bars rather than behind a cash register at a Garden Center.

You might remember that last year I photographed Chris (pictured below who as you can see from the title of this post has a very difficult last name both to spell and pronounce and who is also the landscape architect at the garden center where I work) making a Christmas wreath with the fabulous wreath making machine.  This year, I asked him if I could photograph him assembling a few winter pots.  Chris said, ‘No, I could not’, but I did it anyway.  I tell you what – after I get a few Christmas cookies under my belt, I can be downright irascible!

First Chris starts with a little pot…

Har har har ho ho ho hee hee hee heh, heh ha, ha, hwah hwah, ho!

I think I may need to cut back on the Christmas cookies.

The ‘pot’ is lined with landscape fabric and then filled with sand.

Chris begins by filling the center of the pot with a particularly bushy and also prickly evergreen of which I can’t remember the name, but for the sake of confusing everyone, I hereby name it ‘bushprickle’ because that’s what it’s name should be.

As you can see, the ‘bushprickle’ stems are spiky and give height and fullness to the center of the pot.

Chris angles them in so that they sort of ‘shoot out’.

Oh dear – I am afraid that I can’t say the words ‘shoot out’ without launching into a wrestling cheer from my glory days of being a wrestling cheerleader so if you would please excuse me for a minute…


Shoot Out on the Whistle!  Shoot Out on the Whistle!  

There – feel much better – Now back to our regularly scheduled program…



He leaves some space in between the bushprickle stems so there is room for it’s close cousin - 




Old Paint. 

Of course, Old Paint is not the evergreen’s real name.  I have no idea what it’s real name is because hello – I run the cash register people!  I do not sit around memorizing plant names, or studying plantiology or knowing anything meaningful about the world of botany!  But I am good at making up plant names so I decided to call this evergreen Old Paint – because it’s painted.  It’s painted a forest green color and no – I have no idea why it’s painted, but it is.  Hence the name!




And yes – personally I find the painted evergreens to be kind of appalling and very unnatural, but that did not stop me from buying a painted green evergreen for my Christmas tree this year did it? 

No, it did not.



Next, Chris sticks in some White Pine which is the actual name of the evergreen that he is working with in the above pic.  The reason I know the actual name of the White Pine is because I have a lot in common with the White Pine.  You see, White Pine is a very limp and weak willed evergreen bough. It has a tendencly to slump down and also to slide to the floor.  It is often slippery and hard to get a hold of.  But!  White pine is very useful when you want to create a draping effect around the edges of a pot.




We are the drapers!

We drape!

And we create a very nice spilling effect over the edges of things!  We are also good for masking inadequacies because all that limp spilling covers a multitude of errors.  We are also good at resting and eating snacks and watching movies and forgetting what it was we were going to do just a few seconds ago.



Where am I?

What was I going to do?

And why do I have this blood covered hatchet in my hand?

Unlike the spiky thing in the middle who insists on being the center of attention, we spillers are quite content to just hang around – and check it out – we look very good while doing so.   So don’t be discounting the White Pine branches of this old world.  At first they may appear quite useless, but in truth they actually creating a striking effect.

Here you can see the bush prickle middles, the old paint fillers and the weak willed spillers all combine to make a glorious display.

See how they all work together to make the world… I mean the pot a beautiful thing!



Over the years, Chris has made a lot of winter pots. The pots that Chris makes are delivered to decorate some of the most beautiful homes in our area. 




Here he is adding Red Dogwood, and Curly Willow branches.




This is the last photo of this pot that I took, because yes – weak willed and sliding to the floor and needing a snack – but Chris’ dresses them up quite a bit more with berries, pinecones and a few other more exotic varieties of evergreens that we order in, like incense cypress and noble fir.





After having a private lesson with the master of winter pots, I decided to work on filling up my own pots.






I stocked up on a variety of the greens and the branches that we sell at the Garden Center.






I hauled it all in and with Bridget Jones’s Diary playing on the computer, I went to pot.

Har, har, hee ho, hee, har, ho, ho hee, hee, hwah, hwar, hee, hee, ho, HA!

Get it!

I went to POT!

Someone please hide the rest of the sugar cookies from me!





Note the gloves.

They come in quite HANDY!

Har har har ha ho har har ho ho hee, hee (etc etc)


I placed the Bushprickle in middle just like Chris did and then I got involved in Bridget and especially in Hugh and Colin and I forget to photograph the rest of the process….

So this is my winter pot!




And this is my other other winter pot!

You know what these pots need?

A light dusting of snow….












  • Rechelle…. you are a POT making ROCKSTAR!!!!

  • Those are really pretty…what a great idea!

  • Sandy in MI:

    I suspect what really happened after you photographed the bushprickle in your pot is you fell into a sugar-induced coma.

  • I love the winter pots. Anything to get into the winter spirit. Accompanied by a little Colin Firth in a goofy, winter sweater and sugar, how could you go wrong? Love the post. Thank You!

  • Pretty! This (these) may be a stupid question(s), but do you have to keep them watered? Will the evergreen eventually get all brown and crumbly? How long will your winter pots look nice?

  • Carol:

    Yours turned out so nice! They look much better than the dead fall stuff I have in mine. Thanks for sharing the process. I think I could actually do it.

  • Mom:

    Love your beautiful winter pots. What fun

    See ya all soon

  • Very nice work! Has Chris signed you up as his apprentice for the next go-round?

  • Oh my goodness I thought I was going to die laughing, reading this!

    Your winter pots turned out lovely, and the snow is beautiful too :-)

  • jancd:

    I love your winter pots. I especially like your short attention span, for I have one very similar. Merry Christmas!!

  • Erin:

    Oh how I need a house with a front porch again so I can swag my greenery – Christmas is when I miss my old house! (though I must say our new house is a lot warmer than the drafty 80 year old house we lived in while in Salina!) Yours looks beautiful!! I bet the inside is really pretty too – do we get a post with pictures of Christmas decorations inside?

    Loved the “pot” tutorial!

  • The inside is decorated in early backpacks and coats lying on the floor. My kids are home for Christmas break.

  • KC – We spray the greens with an anti-wilt substance that helps hold the moisture in the greens – but they do eventually fade and then yes – turn brown and crumbly but not for a month or two.

  • gorgeous!!!!! I want you to make some winter pot for me! :)

  • AngAk:

    Beautiful! I have not seen these up here. Maybe I should start a trend. And, I think that wimpy White Pine could use a Gimlet pick-me-up.

  • You must be learning something where you work. You did a really great job on those pots. I love them. It looks really cool with the snow on them too.

  • jamoody7:

    Very pretty…it almost made me feel festive!

  • Marilyn:

    Did you say red dogwood? Wish we had those in North Carolina. It’s just what my pots need!

  • Lovely!

  • Fran:

    I’m a white pine, too. Oh yes, definitely. Every time I sit back down at my desk at work, I ask (myself, my co-workers, the woman who previously had my job before she died…),, “Now where was I?”

    Funny post, beautiful pots! Merry Christmas!

  • becky up the hill:

    Oh you did a nice job! That dusting of snow, that was brillant! Like sprinkly frosting! Wow..I can see under your porch roof, is that that aqua sky-blue color? I can see it glowing. Nice job!

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    Love the winter pots and LOVE, LOVE the red barn! Have a Merry Christmas!

  • Beth:

    All of them are gorgeous, Rechelle!

  • Beautiful pots! I’m coveting the snow.

  • joann in tx:


    your winter pots are abosolutely gorgeous!
    the snow dind’t hurt any either! what an extra
    additive! but ya’ll can keep that white stuff!

    you did a fantastic job on your winter pots!
    so creative!!!


  • M.R.:

    Really nice!