I have used 14″ black plastic containers for all of these Christmas combinations in order to focus on the plant material. Always try to start with the tallest plant, which in this case is a Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwood’s Gold’. I flanked it on either side with Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) and Silver Bush (Leucophyta). A variegated ivy and sprig of holly finish it off.
The fine silvery foliage of Helichrysum ‘Icicles’ provides a bright backdrop and is nicely contrasted by an ornamental grass (Carex ‘Ice Dance’) on one side. The golden whipcord foliage of Hebe ‘James Stirling’ shares the foreground with the bright red berries and bubblegum-scented foliage of Gaultheria procumbens or Wintergreen. A red ceramic bird ornament completes the display.
The bright yellow foliage (which smells likes Lemon Pledge) of Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest Wilma’ makes a nice focal point in the back and is flanked on either side by the silver foliage of Lavandula stoechas ‘Silver Anouk’ and a sprig of green Podocarpus. The Wintergreen in the foreground will shift to burgundy tones in the cold and a small ornament fills a hole.
The background for this container is a combination of the variegated Euphorbia ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ and the red flower buds of Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’. A larger Silver Bush (Leucophyta brownii) occupies much of the foreground, with a small red miniature floral cyclamen filling out the balance. A sprig of variegated holly and an ornament pick round out this display.
The background of this display is dominated by what was once a local landscape standard (that has been decimated by root rot), Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoodii’ – but they still fare well in containers. A holly-like Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’ brightens things up with its marbled leaves of green, gold and cream. Wintergreen and a small gold ornament finish the look.