27 Jan 2022

Gardening with Jo: Special decoration for the festive season

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

Gardening with Jo: Special decoration for the festive season

Decorate a living tree for the festive season

The big day is fast approaching and the house and garden are all decorated and looking beautifully enhanced by lights and foliage. I wanted to share with you the things we do in our own garden and on the nursery to make it special for the festive season.

Firstly, in the nursery, we tend to not go overboard as it would be very easy to. Where do you stop? So we love to add a few lights to the Christmas trees that we have dotted around and have lots of twinkly lights around our sales cabin too. We also add some lights to some of our more mature trees in the nursery park. As I say, its not much but its just adds a little festive cheer to the place.

In our home, though, things are a little different. We almost do more outside than we do inside to welcome any family and friends to our home. We always like to switch it up too and do something different each year. This year we have festoon lighting across the driveway, slung from tree to tree, and create a wonderful entrance. This is the first thing you see when you turn into the driveway and also you can see it as you come along the lane to our home too.

We have added fire pits at either side of the driveway and we light those when we are expecting guests to provide a real warm welcome.

As you come up our path, you can see we have added a garland all round the front door with little twinkly lights, a lovely decorated wreath. We also have a collection of three similar, but different, living Christmas trees at one side of the front door. I’ve added lights to just one of them, so as not to go too mad. The first tree is a Picea pungent Fat Albert, and we also have one Pices abies and one Abies Nordmanii.

The Fat Albert is a wonderful Blue Christmas Tree with a lovely full size. The Picea Abies is a typical Christmas Tree but we’ve added some white to the foliage to make it look like it has been in a snowfall and then the last one, Abies Nordmanii, is a wonderful tree that will grow into a really lovely mature size if we planted it in the garden.

I’ve just added the lights to this last one and popped them into three lovely pots that add to the festive feel.

We have added a sledge to the display this year, and some added Christmas gifts. It looks amazing - although with the recent winds we have used a couple of bricks in the faux presents to keep them in place!

I would absolutely love to see your Christmas Garden displays. I love great outdoor festive displays that are creative and we would love to show off some of the ones you send me. Do email them to me at

Oh, I forget one last thing I did - I have two large pots at a back picture window which are really striking but the grasses in one of them were really hit by the frost and the recent winds and were looking a little untidy. I cut the grasses back to ground level and then added white skimmia to the pots to create a lovely Christmassy look from my kitchen window.

I am so looking forward to the lovely break over Christmas. We take a good break over the holidays, finishing up on the December 23 and we are not back until January 4. It is always such a welcome time and, weather permitting, when all the madness has calmed down I will be most definitely in the garden.

Next week I’ll be sharing with you what to do in the garden over the Christmastime and all the things that will help your garden look better through next year.

Until then, happy gardening, and do take the time to enjoy the festivities.

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