winter returns.

I’m so glad that I took advantage of our ‘second summer’ last weekend and finished up my bench makeover.  I have it posted on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, so hopefully it will sell soon.

I also sold that large cupboard that I refinished back in September on Monday.

I was really happy to sell that one before winter set in.  It was rather large, and really heavy, so I was storing it out in the carriage house.  I really didn’t want it to sit out there all winter.

And as it turned out, we got it out the door just in time because winter returned with a vengeance on Tuesday.

Second summer is glorious, but it’s also fleeting.  Winter always returns.

Another task that I was determined to take care of during our second summer weekend was filling all of my window boxes with evergreens.  The past several years I haven’t been able to get to this before the soil in the boxes froze rock solid, but this year luck was on my side.

Mr. Q and I popped over to our local Home Depot and we picked up a variety of evergreens.

No matter how many I buy, I still never have enough to fill all of my planters totally.  These really are just the background to which I add dried flowers harvested from my garden (or my neighbor’s garden).

The window box on the side of my carriage house is always my favorite.

In addition to the greens, I added some dried flowers from my Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea.  The flowers on this one turn a deep shade of pink/purple as the season progresses.  You have to cut them and dry them before you get a really hard freeze though, because eventually they turn brown if left on the shrub.

I added a few other dried flowers (astilbe and sedum), plus a few rusty ornaments.

I took all of these photos before Tuesday’s snow.  I really thought I’d have a little more time to enjoy my work before it looked like this …

But that’s OK.  This snow will melt soon.

I also dressed up the Farmer’s Market basket that hangs on the photo cottage.

I added some battery operated lights to this one which is pretty at night.  This planter is a bit more sheltered from the elements by the overhanging roof on the cottage.

Next up was the galvanized laundry tub that sits in front of my carriage house.  This is where I hung my painted sled.

It’s looking quite festive with the addition of some snow!

We share a mailbox post with nnK (our neighbor across the street) and quite a few years ago we added some planters to either side of the mailboxes.  nnK fills them up in the summer, and I fill them for the winter.  Last year I swapped out the plastic planter box on my side for an old metal toolbox (I’m still working on finding a good one for her side).

I used quite a bit more dried flowers in these arrangements, and many of them came from nnK’s garden.

If you’re wondering how well these things stand up to a Minnesota winter, well, the truth is they definitely don’t look this good all the way to spring.  But they usually look good at least through Christmas.

Some of you who have followed me for a few years are probably wondering about the big daddy of them all, my front window box.

Well, silly me, I managed to forget to take any photos of it before the snow.  But here it is after …

It’s a little hard to see the details 😉

I have some twig lights in here though, and it looks amazing lit up at night both from inside the house and from the street.

How about you?  Do you fill up your outdoor planters for winter?  Got any tips to share on what works well for you?  Be sure to leave a comment and let me know.

26 thoughts on “winter returns.

    1. That all started with the galvanized boiler on my carriage house. I bought it at a garage sale super cheap because the bottom was rusted out. That made it perfect as a ‘window box’ because the soil has drainage.


    1. I wish I was that clever! But no, those are rusty metal snowflake ornaments. I’ve had them for years and I always use them in my outside arrangements, so their rusty-ness has grown over the years.


  1. So nice Linda. The evergreens are nice alone and with the snow. I harvest my hydrangeas but leave them indoors and enjoy them over the winter. Thanks for the inspiration.


  2. You’ve motivated me to decorate the window boxes on my garage. Thanks for all the great ideas, but I’m kicking myself now for not getting any flowers off my brother’s hydrangea.


    1. Maybe it’s not too late Donna! Be sure to click back and visit my post from last year when I spray painted the hydrangeas (here), something like that might work really well for you this year 🙂


  3. Wow Miss Quandie…… got a lot of work done! I’m seriously wondering if you don’t have some Shoemaker’s elves that you’re not telling us about! Hahahaha……I’ve been pondering that for some time because you get SO much accomplished AND you have the day job. It’s got to be elves! About your twig lights: do you have to go outside to turn them on? Thanks for the inspiration!


    1. I wish I had some elves, I really could use them. As for those lights, I’m so glad you asked because we have an interesting set up for them. The electrical cord runs halfway around the house, and then in through an ingenious little trap door that our handyman/neighbor Ken added to one of our basement windows and then it plugs in to an outlet in the basement. Since I don’t want to run up and down the stairs all the time to turn them on and off, I have a remote control thingie on the outlet, and a remote control to operate it upstairs (here’s an example from Target). We use the same system in the summer for our fountain. Mr. Q can turn it off to clean it using the remote control rather than having to run up and down the basement stairs.


  4. Everything looks wonderful!! I cut some red twig dogwoods but haven’t started the greens yet. I have some hydrangeas too but not as pretty as yours! Greens are so expensive here, so I just harvest from my yard (or sneak over to the neighbors LOL)


    1. I love those dogwood twigs. Unfortunately, I don’t have any. Maybe I should plant some next year! I’ll admit, the greens are expensive here too. I spent a pretty penny on them. But there really isn’t anywhere nearby that I can harvest them except public parks. I have joked about going out after dark and clipping a few from the trees in our local park. There are some really gorgeous red berries on bushes in there too. But as a city employee I’m fairly sure that would be frowned upon, I think I’m supposed to be setting an example 😉


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