Garden Display with Christmas Greeting Decor

Well, it's a few weeks (or days?) before Christmas and the countdown - at least for us - has begun!

In the past, outdoor Christmas decoration for us simply meant strings of Christmas lights at the garage and the porch. Hanging Christmas lights is very much a standard holiday practice here. In December, close to Christmas, we'd occasionally stroll around the neighborhood at night just to look at which houses have interesting decorations and lights.

As has been the tradition in celebrating the long Christmas season, we're putting up the Christmas lights and decorations this early. This time, the front garden porch was not spared in spreading that holiday cheer.

Shown above is the decorated concrete post in our front porch. The plants surrounding the decor are: (from left) Nong Nooch Vine (Petraeovitex bambusetorum) also known locally as Golden Garland, Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) and the Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). That's a lamp at the top middle part of the picture.

Christmas Decor at the Garden Porch

Other than the Christmas or Advent wreath that we normally put on the porch's front door, we don't put any other Christmas signage outside. Even the Christmas lantern (or Parol) that is visible outside the window is actually hung inside the house. The rainy season doesn't quite lend to putting so much Christmas decorations outside. The Christmas lights outside are strung high up on walls or ceilings so they're not a problem with the rains.

I do have an old plastic Christmas banner that simply said "Merry Christmas" and we had no place for it. After all, the decorated Christmas tree, lights and decorative trimmings inside the house already indicate Christmas. So I just hanged the banner on the porch light and it actually looked good with the Cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) climbing up the wire trellis on the faux stone panel.

Traditional Christmas Plants and Flowers

When the idea of Christmas plants and flowers comes up, I could only think of two: the Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and the Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). The Holly (also called English Holly) is a traditional Christmas symbol. Who doesn't remember it printed on the Christmas cards of old? The Poinsettia, sometimes called Christmas Flower, is a more contemporary addition, usually seen as live displays for malls and other buildings during the holidays.

Shown below are the Holly and Poinsettia.

Here's a bit of information from Wikipedia:


Plants in this genus have simple, alternate glossy leaves, typically with a spiny toothed, or serrated leaf margin. The inconspicuous flower is greenish white, with four petals. The small fruits of Ilex, although often referred to as berries, are technically drupes.

The fruits ripen in winter and thus provide winter colour contrast between the bright red of the fruits and the glossy green evergreen leaves. Hence the cut branches, especially of I. aquifolium, are widely used in Christmas decoration.


The poinsettia is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays.

I don't think you'll find any English Hollies growing hereabouts. Poinsettias, on the other hand, are increasingly becoming popular among local gardeners. Because they're photo-periodic plants, they are a bit tricky to grow. I've seen nurseries cover them up with black material (linen or plastic) to simulate "extended nighttime" for several months so they become red and ready just in time for Christmas. The extra time and effort in growing these plants in time for Christmas command these plants higher prices in the market.

Cypress Vine as a Christmas Plant

Notice that what's common about these two Christmas plants is the bright red and green colors that provide the contrast. I've often associated the bright green and red colors with Christmas. With the Cypress vine's flower and leaf colors, I sometimes get that holiday feeling just staring at them.

Don't these colors simply evoke the feeling of Christmas?

The Cypress Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) is easy to grow and quick to flower in about two months. The plant doesn't need a heavy duty trellis. You could easily make a simple climbing support or trellis with thin wires. It can grow densely though and so would need to be trimmed occasionally.

Removing old leaves actually promotes its flowering. This, plus deadheading spent flowers, will keep a tidy vine. And if you decide to plant more of this vines in the future, the Cypress vine seeds readily.

With no English Hollies here and expensive Poinsettias, why not consider the Cypress Vine as your Christmas Plant in the garden?

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