Decorating the outside of our homes has become almost as much of a tradition as putting up a Christmas tree indoors, adding colour and light to cheer us up in the depths of winter. But it shouldn’t come at a cost to our garden wildlife. Here are seven wildlife-friendly ways to decorate your garden this festive season.
Wildlife-friendly garden decorations
Outdoor fairy lights look beautiful, sparkling in the dark, but our local wildlife doesn’t love them as much as we do. Too much light at the wrong time of day is a problem for wildlife, disrupting their sleep patterns and confusing navigational signals. This year, keep your use of outdoor decorative lights to a minimum and go for other ways of decorating your garden instead.
Baubles look great as outdoor decorations, and they don’t affect wildlife. Hang them from trees or use them to decorate pergolas, arches and other garden structures. For maximum impact, use baubles of just one or two colours.
Christmas wreaths don’t have to just be for the front door. Hang wreaths from tree branches outdoors where you can see them from your windows. And why not make a wreath or two for your birds to enjoy? To make a bird-friendly wreath, cut a few bendy stems from a garden shrub – shrubby dogwoods (Cornus) are great for this, with their coloured branches. Twist the stems together, then form the twisted strand into a circle to make the frame of your wreath. Cut sprays of small colourful rosehips, holly or pyracantha berries and push them into the frame, securing them with florist’s wire if necessary. Finally, hang your bird-friendly wreaths where you can see them and watch the birds enjoying the berries.
Peanut butter pine cones are another easy-to-make edible decoration for your garden wildlife. Collect fallen pine cones, spread peanut butter over them and roll them in birdseed. Then hang them on tree branches for wildlife to enjoy. These decorations may not last long!
Dried fruit slices also make super wildlife-friendly decorations. Cut oranges and lemons into pieces, place them on a baking tray and dry them in a cool oven (65-75°C/150-165°F) for 3-4 hours or until dry to the touch, turning them every hour. Once they are dry, thread them onto strings and hang them from tree branches or garden structures.
Plant up patio pots with winter bedding to provide a splash of colour outside your windows. Cyclamens, hellebores and winter-flowering heathers are all perfect for pots, and evergreen heucheras look great in pots all year round with their bright foliage. Add a few sprays of berries or coloured dogwood stems to pots to give them a seasonal touch.
Turn a conifer into an outdoor Christmas tree by decorating it with baubles and other wildlife-friendly decorations – wooden or plastic decorations are suitable for this, as they won’t shatter in a frost.
If you need some inspiration for your decorations this year, visit our centre. We’ve got something for everyone this Christmas!