Decorating the holidays


Visit soon and you’ll see the grounds still blanketed…I have to diverge from my usual “Blithewold Gardens” theme for just a moment this rainy day to mention “Christmas at Blithewold“. Raise your hand if you finished your gift shopping in July and your lights are up — Christmas at Blithewold is for you! Hands up if you’re feeling slightly resentful that all over everywhere bucket trucks were putting up trees and lights before you even had a chance to finish your Dagwood style Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich — Christmas at Blithewold is made for you too!

Volunteer decorators, house staff, Fred and Dan, garden volunteers, and Gail and I have been working on getting Blithewold decked for the season since –gasp– before Halloween! And I can’t think of a better way to find some holiday cheer and most excellent decoration ideas to take home than to visit the house and grounds this time of year. The whole house is like a display garden with idea beds. It doesn’t matter if your own method of decorating is like mine (flinging a mismatched menagerie of ornaments on a tiny tree and wrapping presents at the last minute using blue tape because where’d the scotch tape go?) or like Martha’s with a different color scheme every year and a tree full of white lights and angels. Either way you’ll find a spirit of fun and creativity in all the different rooms and ideas that you can’t help but want to bring home.

Christmas-star magnolia detail (Magnolia stellata var. davidii)Fred and Dan come up with a new way to light the grounds every year what they do is worth trying to copycat (the highest compliment!). This year their show might not stop traffic the way the star topped sequoia or the bebobbled gingko did but it will delight all who come through the gates for a closer look. I don’t want to give it totally away but I bet you’ve never seen a star magnolia flowering like ours!


Gail on the pruning ladder decorating the big treeThe garden volunteers, Gail, Julie and I helped to decorate the 18′ front hall tree – if you look closely you’ll see a reflection of me hanging out on the balcony scaffold taking Gail’s portrait. And Gail and I picked greens from all over the property (we’ve got 7 different chamaecyparis’s!) for Gail’s front door wreath and my container arrangements.

So if you’re anywhere nearby and are either totally into the Christmas spirit already or need to have the inner humbugger exorcised, I hope you’ll come over and see what we made for you!