This is the story of a bat skeleton, surprise electricity, twinkle lights and pixies. THAT is where this story begins...
Thanks to The Southern Living Plant Collection for providing the following plants for editorial use.
The real magic of plants indoors is when they are LIT UP. Without the sun dancing hither and thither between leaves, branches and flowers, plants lose a little of their magic. LIGHT gives it back to them.
The Angyo Star (above) really seemed to benefit from twinkle lights...but more on that later.
There are two of these stone planter areas on either side of the main staircase. Under that brown plywood is this:
OH and a bat skeleton too :) YAY!
On the bright side, I found two watersafe outlets on each side as well, so YAY for real!
The first thing I did was put back two Mandevilla plants that my in laws are letting me borrow for the winter. they are quite large and have a strong deep green color. They anchored each plant grouping perfectly. The smaller of the two is pictured here, and I combined it with the Angyo Star Fatshedera to give the arrangement some height.
As you can see, the other side didn't need the height as much because THIS Mandevilla is HUGE, tall and very "viney". I decided to place my second highest interest plant here, smack dab in the middle. The lime green of the Ligustrum is the sunshine punch this side needed. Contrasting with that punch in the face is the soft and flowing purple pixie and a couple smaller greens filled out this second pot.
The purple really fades into the stone, so I combated that tendency with two techniques. The first was to place another strong color in the same reddish tones -- in this case a seasonal poinsettia. The second was with LIGHTS. Adding a strand of twinkle lights through the purple pixie makes it come alive! The ligustrum doesn't need the help, but darker foliage plants really benefit.
Case in point:
Now we take a little break, step back and evaluate.NOTE: This was NOT mess free. NOT.
...but all worth it...
|Note the teensy tiny little poinsettia on the far left -- she is a pixie!|
|The Norfolk Pines made an appearance too!|
...especially at night!
See that pretty red on the right? That is a fluffy, frilly 'Christmas Rose' poinsettia. Pretty right?
I accented my base collection of plants with the pops of red for:
A: General Christmas FestivenessandB: Coordination with the Christmas Tree (see photo of limes and reds on tree above)
Once the poinsettias stop the color show, I will attempt to root a few while focusing on the purples and limes for winter accents.
Here is how the colors broke down:
Note that the white poinsettia offers a yellowish counterpart to the sunshine ligustrum across the staircase. Also note that each color has three plants flower OR leaf color) and each color forms a triangle, not a row.
The effect is a calm feeling arrangement that seems to "make sense" visually, but also feels a bit random like nature.
Time for the MVPs!
A. The Angyo Star Fatshedera. First of all, the leaves look like stars -- how festive! They are more beautiful in person than on film and the height they add is majestic, yet light. I am a major fan.
B. LIGHTS. In general ALL lights, but in particular THESE little Martha Stewart twinkle "moon lights" disappear into the foliage and twinkle and blink for utter magic. Really. I cannot encourage you to put lights in your plants enough. The "uplighting" in each corner are simple cheap desk lamps and they make SUCH a difference. Add light. Even if it is not Christmas anymore. Leave the twinkle lights alone.
C. The Poinsettias. They are so "Christmasey" and seasonal, but I love them all winter long -- particularily the "whites". I also love the rilly 'Christmas Rose' and the "pixies". So much more variety than the simple red poinsettias of old, yes?