I did not grow up with anything close to a themed Christmas tree. So why I started putting up a second tree for me evolved from a growing collection of beautiful ornaments relating to the garden gifted over the years or acquired during travel. I felt these interesting ornaments were getting lost in our family tree and did not have relevance to the rest of my family members, all non gardeners! So with already an overflowing to-do list, I actually find tremendous joy in decorating “my” garden tree.
Garden ornaments are not that easy to find now that Smith Hawkins has gone out of business. I treasure many of the ornaments with special significance. The gilded Canadian maple leaf reminds me of home, the ornament hand painted with gardener’s tools touches my artist’s heart, the botanically accurate hyacinth bulb is stunning. They are all ornaments given by friends. Some ornaments like the hedgehog with an apple on its head are finds that highlight an event like the summer when a cranky prince charming trapped 7 hedgehogs from under our shed(I resisted a skunk ornament…..that is a story best told over a glass of wine!).
I string mini white lights, add a multitude of dried hydrangeas straight from the garden( some years these are spraypainted gold), add a garland with vines on it and top the tree with a gardening angel handmade by a cousin. It is a sight to behold.
The best part of my garden tree is that it literally makes me stop the frenzy of the season to smell the hydrangeas. I spend many quiet hours reading by this tree during the holidays with a fire crackling nearby and just slow the pace right down and truly savor the magic of the season. I dream of future garden travel or projects. I think of all the wonderful ornament gifts and their givers which have brought me so much joy. It is a truly special tree just for me.
I hope I have inspired you to consider starting a new tradition of a themed Christmas tree to celebrate a hobby, a passion or to commemmorate a family member’s achievement(a ribbon tree of equestrian wins for example). You will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!