Pots sitting around empty in winter always look so sad - like a gap where a tooth should be. But droopy pansies or stiff cabbages can be, well, boring at best, and at worst not much better than a pot left empty.
If during this break between holidays you have a moment to think about container plantings...it's a great time to pot up some focal points to last through the winter.
Sylvia Matlock of DIG Nursery on Vashon sent me this moody photo of a pot she planted up for the beach with a sturdy Arctostaphylos (a.k.a. manzanita). Nothing but a dependable, hardy, wind-and-drought tolerant woody shrub in a handsome terra cotta pot. Who needs flowers? (I think those are a few low-growing sedum sharing the dirt with the manzanita....)
Consider small conifers, evergreen shrubs, and ornamental grasses as candidates for pots that carry on through the seasons. You can always crowd some annuals in around the base of the shrub in May if you're craving color.
But if a container planting is so striking it can hold its own with a view of sea and sky like this one, I'd say it's perfect as it, in every season.