the garden Christmas tree.

Do any of you remember the free Balsam Hill Christmas tree that I found back in the spring?

The photo above shows my haul from the White Bear Lake Trash to Treasure Day, where residents leave items at the curb for anyone to take.  The tree is in two boxes at the back.

At the time, I knew enough to know that the Balsam Hill brand is generally good quality, and I googled this particular style and found that it was their most popular seller.

And it was free.  So I grabbed it.

It’s a pre-lit tree, and I had a sneaking suspicion that the lights wouldn’t be working properly.  Why else would someone be getting rid of an expensive faux tree?  So I can’t say that I was surprised when I got it all set up and plugged in and only about 1/3 of the lights worked (although I was maybe just a tiny bit disappointed).  None the less, I still thought I’d use it in my living room until I dragged it in there and realized that it was really too big for my space.  I’ve mentioned a few times here that our house is not large.  It’s a 1904 farmhouse, and back in 1904 they didn’t see the need for huge rooms.

At that point I debated just boxing the tree back up and putting it at the curb with a ‘free’ sign on it, but then decided why not use it outside?  I’ve done this before and really enjoyed having a Christmas tree in the garden.  So I lugged it out to the garden and Mr. Q helped me weight it down with some sandbags (crucial for an outside faux tree, to avoid having it blown over in a storm).

I knew that trying to remove the non-functioning lights would be a frustrating, time consuming exercise, so I opted to just add new lights on top of the old.  Then I set about decorating the tree with garden items that I already had on hand, including most of my watering can non-collection.

I didn’t attached the cans with anything, I just basically tucked them in between branches.

And by the way, I should throw in here that one of them has an IOD transfer, and one of them has a with prima transfer, and both brands of transfer have held up perfectly on these watering cans that I leave outside year round.

Most of the decorations, including the big galvanized snow flakes, are just tucked in.

I harvested dried flower heads from the garden and tucked those in here and there too.

Along with some birch logs, vintage garden tools, and even some clay pots.

I topped the tree with a rusty crown that usually lives in the garden.

I really wasn’t sure how this haphazard approach to decorating the tree was going to hold up outside, but we had a fairly blustery storm a few days later and nothing fell down, or fell off.

So I think it’s good to go.

I do like the spot I put it in, it’s outside my kitchen window and it’s fun to see it out there, especially at night when it’s lit up.

All of the preceding pictures were taken before our big snowfall last Friday.  Now the tree looks more like this …

Still pretty, but a lot of the smaller details have been lost under the snow.  It does make me realize what a good choice those bigger items such as the watering cans and the big galvanized snowflakes were for outside though.

But I’ve been thinking that maybe next year I’ll put the tree in the photo cottage.  If I left the top half of the door open, you could see the tree inside there all lit up.  Hmmmm.  Well, I have another year to think about that idea.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the tree where it is.

Do you put any Christmas trees up outside?  Or decorate ones that are already there?

36 thoughts on “the garden Christmas tree.

  1. That is an amazing tree! I can’t believe someone just gave that away! It’s gorgeous and I love all the items you used on it! I don’t have a tree out in the yard but I do have a large one on my porch and three small ones. I’m a little obsessed with Christmas trees! Great job! And with the snow…….incredible.


    1. I’m guessing the person who gave this tree away just didn’t want to deal with those non-functioning lights. Those can be so frustrating! It is a gorgeous tree though, perfect for turning into a ‘garden’ tree.


  2. I’m totallyt loving this. We used to put out an old tree with stuff on it for the birds. But it got so ratty we gave up on it. And the oversized items are always great on outdoor decorations—because you view from farther away! Hugs, and love this FREEBIE!


    1. The bird idea is a good one! I tend to not feed the birds because I know I wouldn’t be reliable about it, and I’ve read that if you’re going to feed them, they will count on you during our cold Minnesota winters and could starve if you’re not consistent. But hey, now that I’m retired, maybe I could be better at that!


  3. Love it! I usually do lots of greens in watering cans and various garden containers with hydrangeas and concrete items but my rotator cuff surgery was moved up to dec from Jan so I am light on decorating this year. we do have a tree on the barn porch though!


  4. I love your tree Miss Quandie! And I love the big snow flakes! Were they “born” as outdoor ornaments or did you just decide to use them as such? Yep, I always put a couple of lighted trees in the yard, down by the gate, because I love Christmas to be spilling out of the house and also because they just add to the happiness of the neighborhood at Christmas (-: I DO envy you that big crown!


    1. The snowflakes came from Michaels craft store a few year’s back and they were meant to be hung up. They have battery operated lights in them, but I opted not to use them this year. They have to be switched off and on manually, and that would get a bit difficult with the tree. I’m not entirely sure if they were meant to go outside or not, but I’ve always used them outside.


  5. That tree looks amazing! So hard to believe some tossed it! It was a lucky find for you! And you put it to great use! Love it!
    Smiles, alice


  6. I have a tree outside on my second floor balcony this year. I made it from the wire frames of five lampshades and decorated it with white lights and red and gold ornaments. We really have not had any severe weather yet this year, and no snow, so I can’t say for sure how well it will hold up, but I think it will be fine. If anyone is interested, I posted pictures on my blog: This post is titled A Shade Tree For Christmas. You were probably wise to forego removing the lights from your tree. I bought a marked down tree and about a a third of the lights did not work. I removed them all and it was a tedious job. I clipped the wires as i worked on it but the lights were wrapped around the branches several times and had to be unwound. I have used the tree for several years so it was worth the effort in the long run. Using large garden elements was a clever way to decorate your tree. I wish I could see mine from the inside looking out. I do have double doors in the room with the balcony but that’s the only place I can see it from inside. But the idea was show some Christmas spirit to the neighborhood so it is serving it’s purpose.


    1. What a fun idea. I just happen to have 4 or 5 lampshade skeletons out in my carriage house waiting to be repurposed into something. I’ll have to take a look at your Shade Tree idea!


  7. How clever of you to create a garden Christmas Tree. Your creativity never ceases to amaze me. It is absolutely charming. I bet a smile breaks out every time you catch a glance at it thru the kitchen window. I’ve never considered putting a Christmas tree outside. I have put lights on the planted evergreen trees but these days I place a wreath on the door and dress my vintage sled with greens and a bow and call it done.


    1. I do love seeing that tree from my kitchen window. And last night we had another massive wind storm and once again it survived unscathed. I’m thinking this tree is definitely going to make a come back next year 🙂


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