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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Outback!

photo and arrangement by suzanne ~ December 17, 2011
is it edible, you ask?

I decided I wanted a Christmas 'dish garden' for the coffee table this year.  Just something low key...but NOoo...I end up with a large container planting with some sparkles.  I started out with a small fern tree of some sort that I already had, and 'mother-in-law's tongue', (aka 'snake' plant) (it's off to the left, you can barely see it).  The little gold bird is perched atop the fern, which is at the back.  Then, I picked up an 'English Ivy' plant, that is very healthy, supposedly for low foliage effect!!!  But it's almost overpowering.

I ended up having to get the red basket, because we were running short of time-but, it was only $1, so, time well spent.  And, also purchased the sparkly bird and cattails.  And, I couldn't think of anything else that would accomodate these 'wild and wooly' plants!  Then I decided it needed some more color...RED!  Had some berry stems that I always try to keep around for filler, and made a Christmas bow!  And, voilĂ -stick a Santa next to it...and there you are. 
Now, let's see if the plants live after all the poking and prodding!

A few years back, we thought it might be fun to decorate our backyard for Christmas.  So, we set out and tried to come up with a plan-it's so dark out there!!!

Here are just a few of our results~

~park bench~
Karo made the lighted Christmas tree from 2 pieces of 2x1 wood, as an upside down cross.  He cut the small end into a spike for easy insertion into the ground.  Karo spaced nails across the bottom piece and up and down the center piece to wrap the Christmas lights.  He then, strung tinsel garland over the lights for sparkle and color.  They were fantastic at night!

Karo's lighted trees
Here is another view with additional trees that Karo made. To the left of the little park bench is a horse and carriage, but, alas, it is black and doesn't show up well in the photo...never fear, I may have a closer photo of the horse and carriage. it is!
I just had to have this!  Karo's son, Chad, lived in a little town east of Fort Worth called Lindale, TX.  It's just near Tyler.  While visiting one weekend, we drove by a residence that had a lot of these cut out yard decorations for sale, and I saw the horse and carriages.  We went back and got this one.  For Christmas, I put some decorative green and gold braid around the horse's mouth and draped it to the cab.  I, then, added a headdress of berry stems (red and silver) to the horse for a Holiday look, and a bow from the window of the carriage.  And, you can see Karo's little white tree next to it.

Tin Soldiers and Frosty!
Around to the right of the park bench, we put lights in and around the arbor.  The vines you see are 'Carolina Jasmine', which eventually took over the arbor and knocked it over with the weight!  Anyway, I gave each soldier an American flag, and the soldiers were lighted up too.  There are candy canes crossed at the top, and a striped Christmas bow in the center.  Frosty is a wooden cutout decoration that we uplighted with a, 'you guessed it', homemade floodlight.  Karo made a lamp shade from tin foil and put an outdoor sized Christmas light in it using a socket that you can plug an extension cord into...clever, huh?
Another view of the arbor/Frosty scene
Down to the right of Frosty, we outlined the flower bed with lights and I stuck some Poinsettia blooms here and there between the lights.  Karo's little floodlight did great on Frosty!  He made several of them for some of the decorations we had out front too.
Overall view of our backyard Wonderland

The structure behind the Christmas decor is 1/2 my plant shed, and 1/2 some of Karo's junk!  No, really, he keeps shovels, and weed eater, etc. in one side, and we use part of it for storage.  There are some windows in the shed, so any plants we take in for winter receive some light.

Madison and Mary
Our Granddaughters, Madison and Mary, who live in Bridgeport, TX, enjoyed the Christmas Wonderland.  Most years, Christmas in Texas enjoys mild weather in the 60's and 70's.  So you can spend some time outdoors and explore in, what is usually wonderful fall weather.  But, the last couple of years we've gotten snow-which is unusual for our area.  We haven't decorated out back in the past few years, because of the changed weather, and this is a LOT of work!

Well, my kind, full-of-holiday-spirit-readers, that's outback Wonderland. If, in a few of the photos, you noticed up in the sky, a round light resembling a moon, I noticed it too.  But I can't  be sure...I'm thinking it might be a neighbor's vapor light.  Well, we can always say it was 'the full cold moon' of December which occurred on December 8th this year.  As the winter nights lengthen and the moon spends more time above the horizon, it is also called the 'Long Night Moon'.  I think it spends more time above the horizon to give Santa a better view and longer hours in which to deliver his gifts worldwide!
What to you think?
December Full Moon

* all outdoor photos were taken by me with a Minolta Autopak70 camera that I've had since the 1990's, before I went digital.  My Grandson Shawn now practices with this camera!*

Thank You to:
Karo, for his clever ideas!
Madison and Mary Trammell
Hi Mom!
and My Grandson Shawn

Thank you my gracious (and I mean gracious) readers!  Please come again and say hello.  The holidays are hectic...I'll probably see you early next year!


 our 'PRECIOUS" Grandson Shawn
December 11, 2011
Ahhh...the wonderment of Christmas, and the precious memories!
Now I know why my Grandmother met us at the door
each time we visited, with a big hug and kiss!!!
Be safe!
You too, Elvis!


  1. It all looks so festive around your house, and you did a fun decoration with "old" plants and "new" plants with the splash of red. Very happy!

    Shawn has that look of wonder, and I can just hear someone saying ... "just look, but don't touch"...

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Hi Susan. I absolutely love all your outdoor decorations. Doesn't it all look so pretty and sparkly! I can imagine that your granddaughters would really love it. Isn't that cute how little Madison loves to play with the Christmas village. Grandchildren are such a blessing, aren't they?! Hugs to you.

  3. Hi, Susan! I finally got both of your blogs installed in my following list. I hope I don't lose them again.

    I enjoy seeing pictures of you and your family. I turned 16 on November 20, 1965 so happy birthday to you and to me, dear friend!

    If you'd like to meet the real me and see my baby pictures please follow the address below and view my final post of 2010 in which I introduced myself. From now on you may call me Tom if you wish like some of the others do. However, if you prefer, you may continue to call me Shady. Whatever you call me please call me a friend. Happy holidays to you and yours, dear Susan!

  4. what a great job you & karo did in the OUTBACK!! i've never done much decorating outside...but i sure do love to ride around and see all the lights and trees...and all the hard work everyone else puts into their outdoor decorations for everyone to see!! :)

    your centerpiece is so bright and cheery...i hope all the plants make it...i'm sure they will!

    thanks for sharing all your festive christmas garden stuff!! AND the cute grandkids!!

    LoVE the moon shot! santa's night light!

    merry christmas you, karo...and the whole family!

  5. Hi Shady. Christmas is always a good time to drag out a few old things to remember. I'm glad you're able to enjoy your family, too. And, I will have to go back and view your last year's posts. I like to venture back on others' blogs when I get a chance. Thanks for taking the time to come by. AND! Happy late Birthday! Take Care-Happy Holidays!

  6. Laura, Hi! You've got the best idea! It's fun to ride around and look at the lights. Last year we walked around the neighborhood and took pictures and it was fun! We didn't decorate outback this year...too tired! Still recouperating from the hot sizzling summer. We have a wreath on the door, tree up and some angels keeping guard on the shelves! Of course, Shawn likes my little village, he keeps it arranged and re-arranged!

    Thanks for coming by...even without your favorite computer! Hope your Suwannee trip is fun! The December full moon has come and gone, but I'm sure you'll find some great sunrises! Merry Christmas, my 'bony' friend!

  7. Hi Suzanne,
    Enjoyed your Texas Garden, specially the dish garden, the ivy sets it off, you are sooo---- lucky that y ou can have your outdoors scenes, I just don't try anymore. Yesterday, it was reasonably nice day, until the wind picked up, so I pulled up whatever plants were left, did some raking and decided to bring in my gaziing balls because we are slated to ice and snow perhaps late tonight. I hope not, but who knows.

  8. Hey Mom, glad you came by. They've talked about us getting snow here on Sunday, but that could change. It must be windy if you had to bring your gazing balls in. It is a lot of work to decorate a whole yard. Some of the neighbors really do it up around here. A city committee goes around and judges the yards, and gives out awards to one in each neighborhood they visit. One year, our next door neighbor Lee and Billy got honorable mention for their yard. It was simple with white reindeer and red poinsettias, white lights on the house, and it was pretty.

    Well, hope you don't get snowed in on Christmas so you can't get out. Take to you later. Love, Me

  9. * Nancy, thank you for stopping by. I just wanted to try and indoor container garden for Christmas and it's doing very well. Geraniums would have been pretty, but I didn't have any. Hope you and your family are doing well. Merry Christmas from your old 'alma mater'!

    *Thisisme, I see you've been keeping yourself busy. And I love your new arm warmers! Before Shawn came along, I didn't know Grandchildren could be so much fun and revive the child in all of us. Merry Christmas dear lady!


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