Christmas garden decorations – how to be festive and wildlife-friendly
Christmas garden decorations. Do you love them, or do you worry about light pollution?
Decorating your garden at Christmas is a trend that has crept over from the US. When we went to Virginia in 2005, we were literally dazzled by the number of houses wreathed in festive lights.
But, at that time, outdoor Christmas decorations in the UK meant a wreath on your front door.
In 2005, we only knew one family who had rather wickedly installed a giant illuminated Father Christmas and sleigh, complete with reindeers, on their roof in leafy Dulwich. It appalled their neighbours, much to our friends’ delight.
Now fully illuminated houses rival each other in many British streets. And people argue about whether this is a Good Thing or whether it is causing light pollution. Artificial light in gardens can disrupt wildlife by interfering with sleeping/waking patterns or affecting the way they navigate around.
I recently went to the Abbey Physic Community Garden in Faversham, a wildlife-friendly therapeutic garden . They’d hung baubles on their leafless fruit trees, and from their pergola. It was so festive and easy – but it doesn’t disrupt wildlife at all.
With today’s glass windows, doors and extensions, you can see the garden all year round. Even in our Georgian house, I love to look out the window several times an hour. So here are some wildlife-friendly ideas for your Christmas garden decorations:
Add a wreath to your pergola or your back door
Don’t stop at one Christmas wreath. Hang a wreath on your back door, on a pergola or on a shed door. You only see your front door wreath when you come into the house. Like all Christmas garden decorations, a wreath in the garden can be enjoyed every time you look out the window.
2) Hang your pergola with baubles
Another great idea from the Abbey Physic Garden. Buy a bulk pack of baubles all in one colour – you can get 100 red baubles from Amazon for £11.95. (There are some affiliate links in this post, which means you can click on them to buy. I may get a small fee, but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.)
3. Hang baubles on leafless trees
The Abbey Physic Garden also used the same red baubles on their leafless fruit trees. Choose just one colour for your Christmas garden decorations. I thought the red baubles everywhere looked particularly effective. I don’t think it would have looked as good if the baubles had been multi-coloured. I’m going to try white baubles on my silver birch trees.
4) Conifers in containers as Christmas garden decorations
Conifers work well in winter pots. There are often some interesting specimens on sale at garden centres, nurseries or in markets. Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter believes that conifers have much to offer our gardens.
He often tries out a grouping of plants in pots to see how they work together before going on to plant them. He’s tried this with a grouping of conifers in pots framing the Great Dixter front door at Christmas. You could experiment, too.
5) Create a festive ‘tablescape’ outside the window
Garden writer and author Francine Raymond creates wonderfully stylish scenes in every corner of her house and garden. Her garden table is just outside full-length glass doors, so she sees it every day. There is always a charmingly-arranged display on it.
Even if you don’t have many evergreens in your garden, ask a friend if you can snip some greenery off the back of their trees. Rootle around in your borders – or other people’s. Small branches often drop off in winter storms. I’ve found most of my twigs for decorating under my trees, so I haven’t had to clip them. Although winter is a good time for pruning, anyway!
You can often get tin, wood or plastic Christmas decorations at supermarkets. I found these tin stars at Amazon, and also a set of white wood Christmas star baubles. Some Christmas decorations may shatter if there’s a frost, so either check that they’re shatterproof or suitable for outdoor use.
Do share any outdoor decorating ideas you have on the Middlesized Garden Facebook page – I’d love to see them.