Christmas on the Terrace

It was a fairly warm weekend, and  I thought that I had better get the terrace in Toronto tarted up for Christmas/winter. It has been a very mild autumn, and my ferns were still not dead.

But it was getting colder, and there is a chance of snow this week, so I decided that I should get it done while it was still warmish. It is also getting very busy at work (equals more hours) and I might run out of time before the ground freezes.

I like a very clean simple arrangement in my two big urns. This year I chose to have a mass of curly willow. The key is to have it really full, most people under buy the quantity needed. There are 50 branches per urn in these arrangements. By using just the branches I am avoiding that age-old problem of evergreens lasting all winter. You know, the one where the branches look old and dry in March, but it is still too early to plant for spring. These urns will look good right till April. I could add some forced forsythia, and some pansies at the base in April, and I wouldn’t have to completely redo it.

We also put out a few Christmas baubles. These are just a mix of gold and silver plastic balls from the dollar store. These can take the harsh winters, this is actually the third year I have used them, they have held up really well.

We also hung some  icicles from the tree.  These also are plastic, from the dollar store, they can take the cold and it does not matter if the wind smashes them against the tree or each other,  they will not break.

I would like to have hung more, but our ladder only goes so high.

Here it is, just as it started getting dark. The light shines on the icicles. Prettier in person, of course!




30 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    fairegarden said,

    Oh Deborah, how lovely it looks! I love the willow branches and will steal, er borrow this idea since we have two trees that are pollarded to keep them small, hoarding branches throughout the growing season. We have the same problem with the ladder not letting us reach to meet the vision. HA I love those iciicles!

    • 2

      Frances, it is the ultimate compliment when someone steals, er, borrows your idea! I have just this year planted a very small rooted cutting of curly willow, that I will be pollarding to keep it to a manageable size.

  2. 3

    Joy said,

    Deborah girl ! .. You have such a beautiful subtle touch to the decorating , it is perfect : ) .. I agree .. sometimes when I see those branches used they are “under-branched” ? LOL
    And you can find some great “buys” at the dollar store is too true : )
    You still have no snow in Toronto ? … whats up with that ? we are in our second storm that stared last night … sharing is the right thing to do lady ! LOL
    Joy : )

    • 4

      Joy, I use a very subtle touch at home, work is so over the top. I get slightly tired of seeing so much colour and glitz.
      Love the dollar store, there is a lot of very cool stuff, if you take the time to search it out.
      As I am sitting here typing this, it is storming outside, not looking forward to the walk to work.

    • 5

      Lisa said,


      I agree your urns and tree are elegant! I’m also a fan of the dollar store, I think I’ll borrow your idea.

      Thanks for your welcome message to me.


      • 6

        Thanks Lisa, it is very nice of you to say. I love the dollar store, I certainly spend way more than a dollar with them. And I don’t have to feel guilty if I only use something once.
        Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope I will see you again.

  3. 7

    Beautiful look, Deborah — love the high-impact simplicity — and what a fabulous terrace! And here I was imaging you having to make do with a mingy little balcony in the city. But you have a tree! Now I’m doubly envious.

    I’ve put dollar-store plastic balls on my Value Village red feather boa wreath for the past two years, but I’m hoping to change it up this year. Any suggestions?

    • 8

      Helen, when we were looking for a condo, we had one week to look at everything for sale ( in January) and make a decision. My husband was leaning towards the Chocolate Factory on Queen W, but I really wanted this one. The condo is only 700 sq ft, but the terrace is 330 sq ft. It has two french doors that both open onto the space (and my precious tree). In the summer, it feels like your living space is twice as large.
      As for your wreath, a few ideas, glue in different coloured feathers, or leaves, wether metallic or natural. You could also wind cord or ribbon around it, almost banding it, but not too tight so you do not flatten your feathers.

  4. 9

    What a lovely terrace! I love the urns with the willow branches! I have often used branches in my window boxes, etc. especially Birch and Dogwood. I just saw some beautiful branches and willow sticks at Michaels. Maybe pick some of these up after Christmas on sale! And your theme of silver and gold, and the icicles is beautiful. I’m sure it looks spectacular at night under those lights. Perhaps you are getting snow today as we are (along the St. Lawrence, NY). It sure is making up for lost time!

    • 10

      I love branches. I was able to get these very inexpensively (they were being thrown out at work) but I would like to do just a huge mass of red dogwood next year. My fathers new property has quite a bit on it! It does look really pretty under the lights, I wish I was a better photographer and I could get a good picture.
      Only a tiny bit of snow to wake up too, turned to rain very quickly. I do love the mighty St. Lawrence, both sides of course!

  5. 11

    Barbara said,

    How do you ever manage to keep up that big ambitious garden AND to so tastefully decorate the patio at your apartment PLUS go to work? Just curious: what are those urns made of?

    • 12

      Barbara, I am a super woman, lol. Work is usually part time, except at Christmas and Valentines Day, the floral designers, two busiest times. That makes a huge difference. I am also lucky enough to get 4 weeks holidays a year, which in North America is very unusual. Most people start at 2 weeks and take years to get to 4. I can get a lot done at Kilbourne Grove in a week.
      The urns are cement, my husband calls them the hernia makers!

  6. 13

    teza said,

    Imagine…. a patio with a tree in downtown Toronto! Gotta be a first! I love the simplicity but the elegant subtlty even more. How much of the white stuff did you wake up to this morning? I shall be posting later today…. heading out now with the camera. Now it feels like winter- perhaps I should start my holiday shopping? LOL! Thanks for the visit to the condo!

    • 14

      Teza, that terrace sold the condo to us, very unusual in downtown Toronto as you know. And a tree, what a pleasure it is to have that!
      Are you describing me, or my terrace, elegant and simple? lol
      Mostly rain here today, I have to look at your blog to see snow. ha, ha

  7. 15

    Jean said,

    Deborah, Those urns with the willow branches are beautiful. You, Grace, and Violet Fern are all going to inspire me to try to do more with containers. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • 16

      Thanks Jean, it is wonderful to be inspirational. I would love to plant up more containers at Kilbourne Grove, but there is no one to water them while I am away all week, and sometimes for two weeks. I will have to wait until we move there full time and then I can have lots of them.

  8. 17

    How stunning!! I love the urban, clean lines and the interesting touches. What a contrast to KG, lucky you!! I know exactly what you mean about the evergreen in the pot problem, I have such a problem at the moment. The willow branches are lovely, I may also steal (er…borrow) the idea. Beautiful terrace, how relaxing to have a nice outdoor space in the city. Great post! 🙂

    • 18

      Rebecca, I would love to have you steal or borrow any ideas you like. I do love evergreens in urns, but I think that you have to be prepared to change them, as they do dry out. You never have that problem with branches. One time I did a cage of willow with a nest of boxwood (which drys beautifully) for a client. They had it for months and it still looked great.

  9. 19

    miss m said,

    That is one lovely looking terrace !

  10. 21

    Grace said,

    Hi Deborah~~ You’re so right. In the case of curly willow, more is better. I love the simple white lights and how you’ve decorated your tree with them. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at your place.

  11. 23

    How beautiful! I am headed out tomorrow for some balls to put in an urn on my front porch. Thanks for the great idea.

  12. 25

    wendy said,

    I love your decorations. I was literally thinking just the other day that I need some christmas baubles! Your baubles look wonderful – and I would never imagine that they’re so inexpensive too.

  13. 27

    Deborah, I love the architectural attention to line and form in your designs. As always – your creations dazzle! 🙂

  14. 29

    Deborah – as usual your work is beautiful. And I love the terrace on your condo. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of the city – lucky you to have found it.

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