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Pick your Christmas decorations fresh from the garden

PUBLISHED: 10:58 21 December 2010 | UPDATED: 19:49 20 October 2013

Pick your Christmas decorations fresh from the garden

Pick your Christmas decorations fresh from the garden

For a wonderful way to start the festive season, why not get in touch with your creative side by picking your Christmas decorations fresh from the garden?

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2010

For a wonderful way to start the festive season, why not get in touch with your creative side by picking your Christmas decorations fresh from the garden?

When it comes to getting into the Christmas spirit, theres nothing like a fun-filled afternoon making your own festive decorations from natures winter bounty. Its a lovely activity for all the family, and it can help save you money as well.

So why not start by taking a wander around your garden, the woodland or the hedgerows and be inspired by the possibilities from green or variegated foliages, berries, seed heads, coloured stems or even winter flowers.

There is more in the local landscape than you might imagine that can be fashioned into wreaths, garlands, tree decorations or table centres, and you can always augment your findings with additional seasonal material from your local garden centre or florist.

Getting started
A lovely way to begin is with a wreath or garland to decorate your front door. For the base, you could use a round florists oasis frame or wire circle, or make your own with entwined stems of coloured willows, cornus or any pliable shrub or vine.

Classic choices for the greenery include holly, conifers, yew, ivy, box or eucalyptus. Attach the greenery to the base with fine wire, and then add decorative detailing such as berries, seed heads, flowers, pine cones, dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, holly berries or even mini apples. Finish with ribbon or raffia.

Garlands for the fireplace or stairs can follow the same theme as the door. Try laying out trimmed conifer branches and lengths, wiring them together and using as a base for adding those personal touches. Ensure needles all point in the same direction. For extra sparkle, spray-paint cones or seed heads before adding them.

Branching out
Next, its time to turn your attention to adorning the Christmas tree. Some ideas include berries strung like necklaces; clusters of wired pine cones; spray-painted seed heads (such as spherical alliums); chains of brilliant orange Chinese lanterns (physalis), as their hollow stems are easy to thread; twisted red dogwood stems in festive shapes; or dried flowers in tiny bunches.

Dont forget the presents under the tree, too, as they can benefit from the garden touch as well. Try sticking bits of greenery onto gift tags or use a sprig of holly as a centrepiece.

Finally, the Christmas table can continue the theme. Overly abundant or paired down, colour co-ordinated or more eclectic, the choice is yours. A wet oasis shape, placed in a container, is one of the easiest bases to use: start by adding greenery and build up with a range of material. You could finish off with beautiful candles and even decorated napkin rings or place cards.

Whatever you decide on, heres wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tips for keeping greenery fresh:

  • Use sharp cutters

  • Crush ends of woody stems to allow water in

  • Soak greenery well before bringing into the house

  • Keep away from radiators

  • Using anti-desiccant spray when first arranged may help seal the pores on the leaves

  • Water with spray mist

  • Use a damp oasis, wrapped in cellophane or in containers

  • Cedars, pines and firs dry out more slowly than spruce

  • Keep cut ends of ivy in water

  • Ensure any greenery is fresh and pliable as dried evergreens can be flammable near candles

  • Check your decorations every few days and replace any dry portions when necessary

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