Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Winter Paperwhites

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Paperwhites brighten winter days whether inside or outside. A large French Country pedestal urn filled with artificial paperwhites is perfect to transition inside from winter to spring.

The arrangement on the vintage pine table actually began as part of the Christmas decor last December. A large glass plate sits inside the urn and provides a flat surface on which the artificial paperwhite blooming bulbs stand. A fresh boxwood wreath is just the right size needed for adding greenery around the rim of the urn. 

French Country 
Winter Paperwhites

From a distance it is hard to tell if the paperwhites are live or artificial. Often I plant live bulbs in November to force them into bloom by Christmas, but discovered these artificial bulbs that look real a few years ago. 

An advantage to using artificial paperwhites is the bulbs do not fall over like live bulbs. Plus, an arrangement will last from Christmas all the way through to Spring. 

A fresh cut boxwood wreath, however, only lasts for about three-five weeks inside before drying out and looking scraggly. Trader Joe's usually offers inexpensive fresh boxwood wreaths beginning around the week before Thanksgiving. The wreaths are so popular, you have to get to the store early in the morning before they are sold out of the latest shipment. New shipments of fresh greenery arrive at least once a week in our area and sell out each week. 

An alternative boxwood wreath for the arrangement that will last from Christmas to Spring is to use a preserved boxwood wreath like the one hanging from the china cabinet door. I like the style of the fresh wreaths on the urn better than the preserved wreath because of the twigs that hang over the edge of the urn. 

No water is needed for artificial paperwhites, but I still use a large clear platter underneath the white urn to protect the table from scratches. The platter shown is a Christmas platter from Neiman Marcus, a Dallas department store institution. 

For many years when Neiman's was still family-owned, the store had a store-wide Christmas event called Fortnight in its flagship store in downtown Dallas in which every department featured special window displays, exhibits, presentations, and goods from a selected country. Every year a different country was the focus of the annual Fortnight event. The event was spectacular with one-of-a-kind exhibits and goods priced from low-end to luxury. Fortnight was to Dallas that the Macy's Day Parade is to New York City. People came to Fortnight from all over the world. 

Each year, a clear glass platter with a new Christmas design was sold in the households department for around ten dollars. I collected several of the platters over the years, but now only have this one left after giving away the others. 

Soon fresh live Spring flowers and plants will take the place of the Winter artificial paperwhites in the French Country urn, and the paperwhites will be moved to another container elsewhere in the house. 


Today the high was an unseasonal 81° here. Several days are forecast with highs in the 70s, sprinkled with highs in the 50s and 60s, for the next nine days. Spring is just around the corner.