I may have mentioned that I’m not into Christmas, but I am saddened in early January to see decorations taken down and neighborhoods left colorless, even joyless, a condition lasting until the daffodils finally do their thing.
My solution, which I wish more people adopted, is to decorate specifically for winter and leave the decorations up until sometime in March. Note that my decorations aren’t Christmasy – almost no red in sight – so they don’t scream “Take me down!” as soon as that holiday is over.
But if your decorations are classic Christmas colors, maybe they could be updated with some items that don’t scream Christmas. For my house and garden, the solution is the use of blue, with non-Christmasy shades of green.
Note the Joe Pye Weed still standing? The stalks have since been flattened by our recent snow. The Juniper parts that I use on pots stay green until sometime in February, when I replace them.
The only red touches are these fake holly berries. The real boxwood snippets stay green a long time, too, and small good.
The color scheme in my back yard is very earthy – no blues or mint greens. Since painting the grass-filled pots a tomato red, the only winter embellishment I add is some burnt-red branches and balls.
The dog sculpture, a gift from the ’70s, I’ve left a natural cement color.
How do YOU decorate for winter?
It’s still a long time before these cheerful daffodils lift my spirits so I’m looking for more ways to decorate for winter. Any suggestions?
I live in Seattle where it dark and gray in the winter. I have planted my garden with lots of winter interest. I have a red snake bark maple (Acer conspicum ‘Pheonix’), a white snake bark maple (Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’), a gold barked Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bihou’), red twigged Acer circinatum ‘Pacific Fire’, red and chartreuse barked dogwoods (Cornus serricea), winter blooming jasmine (Jasmine nudiflorum), Cyclamen coum and hederifolium, and gold barked willow (Salix alba ‘Vittelina’) trained as a hedge. There are various blue/silver and chartreuse leaved plants that look good all year including in winter, Rhododenron oreotrephes, Rh. cinnaberinum, Euphorbia ‘White Swan’, Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’, and ‘Gold Crest’ Cypress. Right now the giant snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) are coming up an starting to bloom. They’re the earliest snowdrops. Who needs decorations?
Didn’t get the containers at the top of the stairs and door cleaned up and decorated for the winter season until AFTER Christmas. Definitely need some sort of deference to the season, even if it is low-key. – MW
I put my cheerful colored winter lights on garage, walkways & house up before Thanksgiving & leave them up until March. Only rule is to take them down by spring equinox. By then we have enough light morning and evening so leaving or returning home isn’t dark!
Long-term seasonal decorations make sense. I’ve used Mahonia ‘Sweet Caress’ in combination with a really elegant Carex ‘Feather Falls’ and Heuchera ‘Smoke Alarm’ (red). Being contained protects the Mahonia from rabbits so it gets a chance to bloom around Christmas time and the Heuchera looks great all year long. Throw in a few seasonal bulbs/annuals & good to go.
In my Falls Church VA garden my outdoor pots are decorated all year long especially in the winter when there is so little color in the garden. I switch out plants around a main center piece depending on the season. For instance a purple kale plant can be used not only for fall with gold & orange plants but transition into winter with greenery, red dogwood stems and then back to spring with bulbs and colorful pansies. It may sound like a lot of work but it’s not because seasonally you’re only changing out a couple of plants appropriate for the season. And more importantly it’s a lot of fun to boot.
I had what I thought was a nice plan for a non-Christmas winter pot, but it turned out to be a bust. I had an extra winter wreath around, and I was going to lay it on top of my navy blue ceramic pot. I wanted to lay on top, nestled in the wreath, a gazing ball — maybe stainless steel or a cobalt blue. I had no luck finding either a gazing ball or a bowling ball on Freecycle, so I bought a $2.50 blow up kids’ ball at Walmart. My son in law painted it with hammered bronze spray paint, and the damn thing never dried — after days! We threw it away. I am resentful at the thought of buying a stainless steel gazing ball, since I know my husband threw mine away (although he pretends he doesn’t remember.) I might try this, but spray paint some branches shades of navy, white, and lighter blue instead of the gazing ball, if I can think of a way to make the branches stand up.
I leave the garden standing and just appreciate the shapes against the snow. Birds are everywhere and they provide life and colour. Some colourful willow and dogwood branches stuffed in pots with some pine cones is pretty much it.
I love this idea! We used to have a neighbor here in Sacramento who would put up lights and decorations starting in January and running through around March – some people complained, but the HOA general rules are that lighted decorations can be up for 2 months and they don’t have to be Christmas or Winter themed. Of course I don’t think the expectation was that someone would put up purple lights spelling out KINGS with matching purple yard décor. That neighbor long since moved away and I sure miss them when it’s a dreary day like today.
Not mine, but one of thr most striking winter containers I’ve seen. The orange bittersweet just makes it.
Sorry. I don’t know how to post a picture.
Could you post it to the GardenRant Facebook page? Sorry I don’t know any other way.
We are warm enough, often enough, that the winter garden gets used on the beautiful days.
63°F today, lol, but a high of 31°F three days from now. Just enough time to look everything over without feeling a need to do too much.
We try to maintain about 60% evergreen plants throughout the yard.
We have plenty of summer only beauty, but it still looks full in January.
The garden has a more open feel in winter, with mostly just the pots of winter pansies to clutter it up.
Sometimes I think the beautiful summer jungle could do with a good bit of editing. But I’ll never say that out loud again. : )
Oh I love this idea! It’s Jan 29th and while I feel strange being the only one on the neighborhood with my bright lights up (and waiting for a note from the HOA), I haven’t been able to bring myself to turn them off yet, let alone take them down. But decorating specifically for winter (possibly alongside the Christmas decorations in my case) would give me options to take down Christmas but keep some color and cheer in this season where I’m already lacking in Vitamin D and could use any happy gardening bits to be found!
Oh I love this idea! It’s Jan 29th and while I feel strange being the only one on the neighborhood with my bright lights up (and waiting for a note from the HOA), I haven’t been able to bring myself to turn them off yet, let alone take them down. But decorating specifically for winter (possibly alongside the Christmas decorations in my case) would give me options to take down Christmas but keep some color and cheer in this season where I’m already lacking in Vitamin D and could use any happy gardening bits to be found! Thanks for the ideas!
Gah – sorry – I managed to post this twice!