Two weekends ago, we put up some outdoor lights. Normally we don't put up lights, but this year I suggested it because I had an idea.
Last year, many of our shrubs were damaged by the heavy snowfall (60+ inches in January/February). The Arborvitae by our front door always gets hit hard in the wintertime because snow blows off the roof into the shrub, the branches flatten out and the shrub gets filled with snow. Last year, we tied up the shrub mid-season with what we had on hand... a garden hose. It wasn't pretty, but the hose did the trick, and the Arborvitae kept its shape.
We decided to tie up the shrub before the snow fell this year. To disguise the rope (not hose) that we used to tie up the shrub, we also wrapped the shrub in Christmas lights.
The lights are all red and clear, however there is a string of multicolored bulbs (5 colors) wrapped around the shrub too. It is plugged into the same circuit as the heat tape on the roof. After having a huge ice dam form on the roof last year, we decided we would try to prevent the problem this year. We installed the heat tape last summer. So, now instead of trying to guess if the heat tape is turned on, we know if it is or not by looking to see if the multicolored bulbs in the Arborvitae are turned on.
This is the view of the shrub from the porch.
Now for more nerdy stuff...
We can turn on the lights and the heat tape via remote control. We had to make sure we bought remote control units that used different radio channels. We had a remote control for our indoor Christmas tree, and it was labeled channel "C'" by the manufacturer. At the store, we bought "H" and "E" remote controls. Ed had it set up as "E" for eaves and "H" for...."hmmm". He swapped them so now "H" is "House" and "E" is Evergreen. "A" was also available at the store, but at the time we purchased it, we didn't think about the letter potentially being an initial for "Arborvitae". So, now the Arborvitae has been nicknamed, "The Evergreen".