Down here in South Florida we love to decorate for Christmas just as much is our northern cousins do. But our methods are a little bit different, and our obstacles are definitely different. By decorating different, I mean we have different objects to decorate. Coconut Palms, Boats, Sand Castles – it’s amazing just what a southerner will find to decorate.
As much fun as it is to decorate down here in the south (this year I spent the day in shorts, a tee-shirt, and flip-flops), it does have some disadvantage as well. In my past youthful experiences, decorating up north there was no problem with putting things in the yard. We had a beautiful snowfall piled up on the lawns for a background. The cool crisp air gets you in the holiday spirit. Lights were easy to put into the trees because there were no leaves to work around. If you put something in the middle of the yard, it would be fine there until it was time to put away after the holiday season.
Let me explain a little bit more what I mean about the difficulties of Christmas decorating a southern garden. Down here we don’t have that crisp blanket of snow that covers everything. No, instead, lawns are still growing, the leaves are still on the trees and the plants are putting out new growth. Many of us of plant annuals for color and beautification of our beds. We don’t want the decorations take away from all the money we just spent planting flowers.
As a result, we need to find a happy medium. Here are some simple suggestions for every Christmas decorator out there in the south to keep in mind. When placing lawn ornaments out try to put them within a bed so that your gardener or your hubby has no problems mowing around them. Remember to place your extension cords into the beds as well. Having them running across the lawn is an easy target for a weed eater or lawn mower.
When stringing lights in the tree remember that the plants still are growing, and having heavy lights on the new growth can be too much weight on the planet. This can cause snapping of branches, especially in high winds. Make sure that you use the heaviest downs of a plant or better yet just string the lights around the trunks. Watch the natural shape of the plant and follow the strongest limbs going up and down the plants. Resist the temptation to put lights in every tree you have on your yard, a few simple decorations will go much further. Also, be careful how you decorate any potted plants that you have. The lights themselves may not be heavy but once the plants are wet they become heavy with rain, and they may not be able to support the weight of the lights as easily. Also, remember some spotlights can burn hot and can harm your plants with the bulbs heat.
One fun thing that you can do that our northern cousins cannot do is you can actually take your poinsettias that would normally go in the house and plant them in your garden. Adding a container of poinsettia gives it a festive air. I’ve seen the landscapers’ plant entire beds of the beautiful red flowers.
While we’re on the subject of poinsettias, once the season is over you can either throw them away, which if you’re not going to take care of them is a good idea, or you can plant them in your yard and wait for next year for them to naturally turned red on their own. If you plant them in the north or in eastern exposure, between daylight savings times and the suns’ rays in the winter, nature will take its course and a poinsettia will naturally start turning its red color in time for Christmas.
So go ahead and have fun decorating for Christmas and when you’re done, take some photos and exchange them with our northern cousins. Our photos will be of Sand-Snowmen, Tiki huts lit with Christmas lights and the planting beds full of red poinsettias. In exchange, we will probably get pictures of snowmen, wintry sleigh rides, and a warm fireplace by the Christmas tree.
But no matter how you decorated, the important thing is to remember why we decorate. It is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and exchange the love and hope this brings with our friends and family.