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Bringing the Garden Indoors

Loree Bohl is a HPSO Board Member, Pacific Horticulture Society Board Member, the mastermind behind Danger Garden, a garden writer, and a spiky plant lover.


I’m a firm believer in bringing the garden indoors whenever possible.

Before they’re tossed in the yard waste bin prunings are evaluated for vase-worthiness. During the winter months it’s even more important, if you can’t be out in the garden then bring the garden indoors! Fallen leaves, cones, bits of moss — all fair game for displaying on the mantle.

I typically decorate for the holidays on the Friday after Thanksgiving, it’s more fun than Black Friday shopping and I get to enjoy the festive decor as long as possible. However as soon as Christmas is over I can’t wait to pack it all up and put it away. The only downside is that after the glitter of Christmas, the house can feel bare. To counter that — as well as keep the January doldrums away — I usually go all out with an “over-the-top” garden display on the mantle.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

This year’s version is a little different from what I’d intended, a result of our surprise holiday snow and ice. To keep things “lavish” I reused healthy stems I’d had in vases at Christmastime, and shopped my Tillandsia and Bromeliads overwintering in the basement.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Is it “too much?” Probably, but that’s the look I was after. Dark, mossy, decadent. The vases include black glass tumblers and silver pieces from the thrift store. I wanted a little shine, but no color to compete with the foliage. A few lichen and moss covered branches I foraged nearby lend height, as well as a place to tuck the Tillandsia. A small wire wreath form was covered in moss and a few old pepper berries tucked in for contrast.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Bringing the Garden Indoors

A pair of Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’ that didn’t get planted out in the garden were tucked in.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

And vintage planters hold cactus (Monvillea spegazzinii).

Bringing the Garden Indoors

This grouping will last for weeks, as long as I remember to add water to the vases and mist the Tillandsia and moss. Then it will be time to come up with a new arrangement!

Interested in bringing your own garden indoors and looking for inspiration? There’s a weekly garden blogger’s meme called “In a Vase on Monday.” Bloggers from all over the world cut flowers and foliage from their garden, put it in a vase, take photos and post links on a blog titled Rambling in the Garden. Click here — In a Vase on Monday Archives — to see past posts and their links. Just for fun here are a few of my past “In a Vase” creations I’ve shared on my blog

NOID Hydrangea blooms (not my plant) joined by a few springs of Hakonechloa, cuttings of Ludisia discolor and a broken Blechnum chilense frond.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Peonies gifted from a friend with Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ branches.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Sometimes all you need is one big leaf, here a Tetrapanax papyrifer leaf that’s started to change color in the early autumn.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Assorted Zinnia from my “cutting garden” (really just a stock tank in the driveway) along with Nicotiana, Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’ leaves and a few Melothria scabra (Mexican sour gherkin/mouse melon) vines.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Too much to name! But of course the stars of the show are the Abutilon ‘Red Tiger’ and Arbutus unedo, the strawberry tree.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Here blooms from the common Yucca filamentosa are joined by Eryngium agavifolium, E. venustum and in the small vase E. maritimum.

Bringing the Garden Indoors

Finally, this vase used finds from a walk with the dog. Flower and foliage from a Liriodendron (tulip tree), joined by seed pods from the same tree, picked up the year before. You don’t have to be a collector to successfully bring the garden indoors, but being one adds to the fun!

Bringing the Garden Indoors


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Categories: Garden Design
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5 responses to “Bringing the Garden Indoors”

  1. Thanks for a great post, Loree!

  2. Loree says:

    Thank you Kate!

  3. Lois says:

    Gorgeous!! Wishing I had a mantle to decorate but also realizing I’ve got a few shelves instead. There is beauty all around us if we make the time to observe with wonder and open up to appreciation. Lovely, lovely photos.

  4. Loree says:

    Thanks Lois and yes, you’re so right. There is beauty all around…

  5. Wonderful, Loree. I love how you bring your garden indoors with such grace. You give the “vase impaired” some great ideas that even I could attempt. Thank you!!

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