Winter

Dress your garden for Christmas

By Paul Hervey-Brookes

Most people put fairy lights in the garden and a wreath on the door at Christmas but you can expand on this idea without it becoming too garish.

Three simple green wreaths tied together with a broad red ribbon can be hung on your door or to the side to welcome people to your home. 

Christmas ribbon wrapped around planters in the garden will add a festive touch. Window boxes or hanging baskets can be filled with fir branches and big bright baubles. Let the children cut snowflakes from white card and string them together to hang at your windows.

Most people put fairy lights in the garden and a wreath on the door at Christmas but you can expand on this idea without it becoming too garish.
Paul Hervey-Brookes

If your neighbours don’t grow holly, you may need to check with your garden centre for the best variety. This is because you need a male and female variety for the pollination to make berries. But holly keeps growing and comes back even better every year. You can pick a few sprigs to bring indoors and decorate wreaths too.

I also love conifers in winter. Small varieties can be planted in containers, or they can go directly into borders. You can also decorate them with lights to make a living Christmas tree! Look for Picea albertiana, which is a pine but slow-growing. Or try chamaecyparis ellwoodii, which is a cypress variety. Ellwood’s Gold is a stunning tree that has golden leaves.

Adding your own Christmas tree to the patio is also a good idea, and you can buy them in pots. There are two main types: container-grown, which means they have been grown for most of their lives in pots; and containerised, which means that the trees have been grown in the ground, dug up and replanted in pots. I would recommend container-grown plants as they are more likely to survive for longer. They are more expensive and likely to be smaller in size, but the containerised versions can be temperamental.

Many families are now putting up a second Christmas tree on the patio and decorating it as they do with the indoor one.

Don’t forget at this time of year to put out some food for the robins. You can buy special robin food from most garden retailers and pet stores. It will help the little red robins to survive the cold weather. And don’t forget to add a dish of fresh water for them to drink. Finally, make sure to sprinkle some salt over the patio and walkways to prevent any slipping on the ice.

Enjoy the Christmas holidays!

Meet the author

Paul Hervey-Brookes

Paul had his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks & Spencers.

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