5 Ways to Decorate Your Garden for the Holidays

It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year! Everyone seems to be in a better mood when they’re spending time with the people they love.

Going all out with décor is easy and fun. Putting up a big Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, draping garland around the house really makes it feel cozy and welcoming. Draping lights around the home and statues on your front lawn, is a fun way to make the whole neighborhood light up.

This year, incorporate some living décor for your holidays. Here are 5 ways to decorate your garden:

1. Decorate Containers

Containers are a perfect way to liven up a home. Finding a festive container or painting a plain one with festive colors or patterns will bring it to life for the holidays. Fill your container with winter hardy plants that are right for your zone, just be sure to use Espoma Organic Potting Soil to give it the nutrients they need.

2. Design the Grounds

With colorful winter shrubs, vegetables and flowers, planting in a design can bring cheer in ways that are unique and cheerful. With the colors and options your plants provide can make an image come through. Utilize the dead space in between your winter hardy plants to create a holiday design.

3. Plant an Evergreen

While everyone brings their trees indoors, plant one outside. You can decorate it the same way you decorate the one indoors. Plus you can enjoy your Christmas morning outside, depending on the weather. Use natural materials, such as pine cones, berries and flowers collected from your garden to decorate. Be sure to use Espoma Organic’s Holly-tone to keep the foliage green.

4. Train Your Plants

Adding a toy train to show off your garden is a great way to mix fun and childlike spirit to your garden. Utilize the plants you already have planted that will survive the winter. Have the toy train go around what you want to showcase. Add some twinkling lights and everyone who stops by will want a garden like yours.

5. Green Your Mailboxes

Draping an evergreen garland over a mailbox is a simple way to incorporate living décor to your holidays. Creating a garland requires few materials and can look festive within a few minutes. Be sure to add a nice large bow to tie it all together.

Want to keep making decorations for your home? Check out this Succulent Snow Globe from Garden Answer.

 

 

Products Used:

Espoma Holly-tone

 

 

Earth-Friendly Ways to Repurpose Your Christmas Tree

The holidays are over and now it’s time to decide what to do with your Christmas tree. Fortunately, there are several, earth-friendly ways to dispose of, or repurpose your tree.

If you simply want to have it removed, start by contacting your waste provider. Many will pick up trees in the weeks that follow Christmas. If you have a compost container and a pruner, you can cut up the branches and loosely pile them inside your bin to be hauled away with your other compost. Most counties have drop-off sites as well.

 

4 Ways to Upcycle Your Tree

Tree recycling and mulching programs are springing up all over the country. A quick Google search will help you find out if there is one in your area. Some communities use your old trees for sand and soil erosion barriers. They are especially welcome for lake, river and delta stabilization.

Turning your old Christmas tree into a birdfeeder is a great way to repurpose your tree. First of all, make sure all the decorations, hooks and tinsel are removed. Then put it outside, stand and all, in a place where you’ll be able to see it from indoors. Decorate it with orange slices, strung popcorn, little bunches of millet and suet balls. The birds will love the treat and you can enjoy watching them from the warmth of your home. It will also provide shelter from the cold winter winds for all of your birds

Another idea to repurpose your tree, is to start a compost pile. Cut the branches so they’ll fit inside the bin. Layer them inside in a crisscross pattern about 6 or 8 inches high. This will ensure good airflow around the bottom of your new compost pile. Then add your vegetable scraps and leaf litter as you normally would. In time, the branches will breakdown and turn to compost as well.

If you live in a mild climate, your best option might be to purchase a living tree, either balled and burlaped or in a pot. Do yourself a favor and dig the planting hole in the fall when the ground is easy to work. Plant it right after Christmas, water it once thoroughly and then mulch with a thick layer of wood chips or leaves.

Plastic Christmas trees can’t be recycled of course, and neither can flocked trees. They need to be cut op in small pieces and disposed of in the regular trash.

Dress up Your Desk with Succulents

Everyone likes to dress up their desks and it is fun to bring a little of the outdoors inside. Succulent arrangements can be chic or playful. Jurassic Park dish garden anyone? You may want to make one with a holiday theme by mixing in tiny holiday ornaments. Go hunting for unique containers.

Succulents are simple to grow with a little care and knowhow. They only need a small amount of water about every 10 days or so. . Good drainage is a must. Always use Cactus Mix, Cactus! soil.

A trick to find out if your plant needs water is stick a dry toothpick into the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. If it comes out dry, it’s time to water. If there are bits of soil stuck to it, wait a few more days. It’s exactly like testing to see if a cake is done.

Always put them in the sunniest place possible. That can be tough in an office situation, unless you have that spacious, corner office. Happily, they’ll respond to that florescent light above your desk. LED light is fine too.

Photo courtesy of Costa Fams

Aloe

Plant several is one container to create a contemporary design. They would also be easy to combine with other succulents in a dish garden. Fertilize a few times in spring and summer to keep them happy. They grow 6 to 12 inches tall and wide.

Albuca

Albuca has a unique growing habit. It produces a thick bulb above ground. Thin grassy foliage rises from the bulb and blooms with green and white flowers. Try growing them with small succulents like Echeveria elegans. They grow 8 inches tall and wide.

Perle von Nurnberg Echeveria

Echeveria is a small succulent, just a few inches high. The overlapping leaves of this echeveria species are beautiful in color. A greyish brown base with light pink and purple highlights creates contrast between the leaves.  In the summer, the flowers can become coral to red with a yellow interior.

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe is a beautiful succulent that can have colors of red, cream, and even yellow in its large, round leaves. No wonder they call them flapjack plants. One plant is all you’d need to create a show stopping display. It grows 1 to 2 feet tall.

 

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Haworthia

A big name for a small plant but the deep green leaves with white stripes really is a stand out. They look brilliant on small containers top dressed with a layer of five white gravel. They don’t like direct light so they work especially well in an office setting. They grow 2 to 8 inches tall and wide.

Products to Buy:

 

Poinsettia Care Guide from Garden Answer

Showcasing poinsettias at Christmas time has long been an American tradition, even though the plants are native to Mexico. What we think of as the large petaled, red flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts.  The true flowers are the tiny ones in the middle. Today they come in a wide array of colors from shades of red, orange, pink, yellow and white. Some varieties even have cream and green variegated leaves.

Choose Healthy Plants from the Start

When you shop for a poinsettia plant, make sure they aren’t situated too close to the door of the store, where they are repeatedly exposed to warm and cold air. Cold temperatures can easily harm these tropical plants. Check the foliage to see that it looks healthy and the inner bracts are a solid color, not showing any green. That would mean that they are nearly finished flowering. Lastly, before leaving the store make sure it’s in a sleeve or put another bag over the top of it so that it won’t freeze on the way to the car.

Give Poinsettias Proper Care at Home

As you can imagine, these tropical plants like lots of sunshine. Put them in your brightest window but not touching the glass, as it can be quite cold.  Keep them away from drafts both warm and cold. Water your poinsettia when the soil feels dry on the surface. Check the soil regularly, as the indoor air can be warm and dry in the winter. Natives of a humid climate, they will definitely appreciate being misted now and then. Like most house plants, they don’t like to be in standing water. Check to see if the foil liner allows water to drain freely and cut it open if not.

Stay Safe Around Poinsettias

Poinsettias are known for being toxic to pets and humans. However, in reality you would have to ingest a very, large amount to become ill. The white sap can be a skin irritant. Wash your hand well if you get any sap on them. It’s always best to set them up high away from kids and pets and that’s probably where you’d put them anyway so, they don’t get knocked over.

Buy A New One For Next Year

One last thought, think of your poinsettia as an annual plant and plan on buying a new one next year. It’s a tricky business to get them to bloom again that involves a strict light and dark regime. Even very short periods of light at night for instance, from a street lamp can prevent them from blooming.

 

Can’t get enough holiday plants? Check out this video on caring for your Christmas Cactus.