When it comes to Christmas decorating, I’m all for some decorations that I can put up in late November or early December, and leave up until early March, if I like.
Those decorations perform double duty both as holiday decorations, and then Winter interest in the garden.
Here at Whimsey Hill House, I put up a number of artificial wreaths that are not decorated for Christmas, but are embellished with more natural looking elements like artificial ivy or holly, small rusty looking watering cans found at a garden center, the seed pods of lotus flowers, and artificial birds, to name a few. These wreaths are more earthy looking and possess a more sculptural quality because they are not loud. They are really extra bits of greenery added to the dark gray-beige of the Winter landscape. I scatter them throughout the garden on trellises, tuteurs, entry gates and even around the necks of statuary that is left out in the garden all Winter.
Years ago at a church garage sale, I found a pair of white vinyl coated wire “light up” reindeer. I don’t know if they even light up anymore, but I site them in the back garden where they look quite sculptural amidst the sheared golden thread Cyprus pyramids, and other evergreens.
Closer to the house, I fill large plastic pots that trees came in with dirt. I then take 5 green bamboo stakes that are 6 feet tall, and inset them equidistant around the inside lip of the plastic pots. I them bring all the tops together, and secure them together with florist wire. This makes an instant tuteur. I then stab assorted textures of evergreen boughs, hydrangea flowers, seed heads of allium, lotus pods, raspberry canes, and anything else that says Wood Land not Ho-Ho into them. (Ho-Ho as in Christmas or Santa Claus). I then hammer a re-bar into the ground, behind each pot, and run a florist wire around the pot and fasten it to the re-bar. This makes it so Winter winds won’t blow them over.
By my dining room windows, I cover one of my three lilac bushes with different sizes and shapes of Silver toned plastic Christmas ornaments. The Silver says Winter, Cold, and Sculptural. You don’t want to use colors that read Christmas like red or green
If you are interested in doing this project, first test the hanging devices on the tops of each plastic bulb, to see if they are properly glued on. With your fingers firmly holding the hanging device, turn the bulb with the other hand. If the device moves, pop it off, and add some Super Tacky Glue to the hanger and put it back on the bulb. The next day, after the glue has completely dried, attach the bulbs to the tree using a good-sized length of florist wire. I like 24 GA 1/4 lb. florist wire. It is easy to work with and is relatively strong.
I think a deciduous outdoor tree looks great in Winter, decorated with bulbs that are in unexpected colors like lime green, purple, teal, hot pink, or metallics like copper and silver. Rust-oleum sells a lot of fun colored spray paints to work with, that you can find at places like Home Depot. You can turn any color of plastic bulb, into another color, with a few light applications of spray paint.
Another Winter decorating project I do is hang wooden and metal snowflakes along the bottom edge of the old maple tree out back. I found the wonderful wooden snowflakes at Lowe’s and the white metal snowflakes at a craft fair. I don’t have many, but they are all a good 12 inches across, and easily catch the eye. When I hang them, I triple the strands of florist wire I use to attach them to the tree. This needs to be done, because the Winter winds whip them a lot.
Each year as a gift to my next door neighbor, I decorate around the wonderful collection of things she has on her covered, but exposed front porch. She is a lover of natural things like shells, fancy found stones, growths that formed on trees, driftwood, rusticated baskets, crocks, and aged flower pots. To her collection of things, I add evergreen boughs, pine cones, the dried flowers of Russian Sage, Japanese lanterns, Bitter Sweet vines, and anything else from the garden that would compliment that earthy display.
There is a townhouse that faces Washington Park in Albany, NY, from which they can see Holiday Lights in the Park. On their front doors, which are painted two tones of pumpkin, they place evergreen Christmas wreaths decorated with peach and gold toned silk roses and other flowers. The wreaths look grand during the Christmas period, and automatically after Christmas read as Spring, because of the not traditional colors, and the choice of the roses.
So there you have it, some different kinds of decorations that you can leave up all Winter. I think if you start thinking about decorations that “read” as Wood Land, versus Ho-Ho, you can leave then up all Winter long.
If you decide to add bows to these kinds of decorations, why not use things made from jute or burlap. If you decide to go for a color, pick something different and not seasonal like lime green, peacock blue, copper or chocolate brown. Think about how Mother Nature would decorate it, if she did it herself.
Companion Post ..Christmas Tree Decorating…Step by Step, Like a Pro 11-11-2011,
It’s EASY to Fluff a Fake / Artificial Christmas Wreath 11-30-2011,
How to make a Pine Cone Christmas Wreath 10-29-2015,
It’s Easy to make a Tulle Wreath 11-8-2012,
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tulle 10-20-2012,
Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree…The EASY Way 11-3-2011.