three silver apples on garden wall
Cheap, easy, fun! Just don't let the kids eat these apples...

The festive autumnal mums are dead, now. So are the marigolds, and the late fall petunias. The cherry tomatoes, in pots by the porch, were past their prime weeks ago. The deer don’t even bother coming around to snack anymore; they’re too embarrassed to be seen in my yard.

It’s time to get creative with winter gardening. I found some silver spray paint in the garage and started looking around outside with an artist’s eye. Everything looks better metallic. Right?

Have you ever spray-painted your plants? How about various and assorted fruits and vegetables? Here are some tips and tricks to help you add whimsy and flair to your winter garden. Tell your neighbors to calm down, it’s art.

Start with dry plants and objects. Spray painting in the rain is a mess, and the paint won’t stick very well, so wait for a nice day. If your plants are in pots, stick them in the garage or another warm dry place for a few days.

Think like an artist! Consider the lines, textures, and forms of the objects you’re going to paint. Are they spiky or round? How do they look next to other objects? How will you group them together? How will they look next to the trees and shrubs in your yard that are still green and alive?

All plants and apples in garden
Integrate the funky stuff in with your existing landscape

Go for the gold, or the silver! Dead plants are actually beautiful in a sculptural sense, and painting them with metallic paint lets your eye see the shapes out of their normal context. I did accent some of mine with purple, though, and gave them a dusting of glitter, just for fun!

Spray safe, spray clean. The truth is, metallic spray paint is not so healthy to breathe. Paint outside! I usually put down a layer of brown grocery sacks, or an old sheet in the grass or bark, NOT on the driveway. You can mow the lawn, but scrubbing paint off cement is not an easy thing to do. Consider wearing gloves, you will surely ruin your manicure, no matter how careful you are.

spary painting fruit
Naked Apples and Nude Potatoes = ART

How to paint an apple: Set the apple or any other round thing on top of an overturned flower pot or yogurt container to elevate it off the ground. Spray on the first coat, let it dry, then turn the object over and spray the other side.

spray painting apples and potatoes
You can hold the apple by the stem and spray, but it's messier!

Keep your sense of humor. The fun of this project is admitting it’s goofy! Silver apples stacked in a black pot are interesting and ridiculous. Painted pinecones are a dime a dozen, but how many people paint cucumbers and sprinkle them with glitter? Start a trend!

Share the fun! We’d love it if you try this at home and post your best spray-painted nature items in the CafeMom Flickr stream so we can all admire each other’s work. Feel free to leave a link to your photo in the comments.