Sum­mer Flow­ers

En­joy the colours of sum­mer flow­ers on your tree this fes­tive sea­son.

Good - - CONTENTS - Words and styling Sarah Heeringa. Pho­tog­ra­phy Amanda Reel­ick

A colour­ful and unique Christ­mas tree dec­o­rat­ing project

The Kiwi Christ­mas has lit­tle to do with snow and sleigh bells and ev­ery­thing to do with sun­shine, beaches, bar­be­cues – and flow­ers. The po­hutukawa tree ( Met­rosideros ex­celsa) is a much-loved fea­ture of the New Zealand land­scape and when in bloom they evoke mem­o­ries of sum­mers and Christ­mases past.

The first known pub­lished ref­er­ence to the pōhutukawa as a New Zealand Christ­mas tree dates from 1857 when “flow­ers of the scar­let po­hutukawa, or ‘Christ­mas tree’,“were part of ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions at a feast put on by Ngāpuhi leader Eruera Patuone. Cards with flow­er­ing po­hutukawa have made Ki­wis over­seas at Christ­mas feel home­sick ever since.

While it’s a bit tricky to dec­o­rate our Christ­mas tree with po­hutukawa blooms, with the help of a few pa­per flow­ers we can en­joy giv­ing our tree a fes­tive look with a flo­ral lei that’s fit­ting to our South Pa­cific cel­e­bra­tions.

You will need

a Christ­mas tree and base scis­sors dou­ble sided tape sewing pins string crepe or tis­sue pa­per in var­i­ous colours ap­prox­i­mately 50cm x 5m of white tulle or other light chif­fon-type fabric (de­pend­ing on the height of your tree)

a se­lec­tion of ex­tra silk flow­ers, with wire stalks trimmed ap­prox­i­mately 10cm (op­tional)

Step 1: Make your own crepe pa­per flow­ers

01 Take a rec­tan­gu­lar, lay­ered flat pack of crepe pa­per and at ap­prox­i­mately 15cm, cut through the pa­per lay­ers across the width. (The fin­ished flower will be slightly nar­rower than the width of the pa­per lay­ers you have just cut.) 02 Un­fold the pa­per and if nec­es­sary, cut it in half so you have 2 lengths of around 60- 80cm. Set 1 piece aside. 03 Fold the length of pa­per into 6 even lay­ers.

04 Cut along the folded sides at each end. 05 Tidy the rec­tan­gu­lar pile of pa­pers and fold back and forth as you would do to make a fan. Press flat and tie in the mid­dle with string. 06 Trim each end in a curve. (Later try a frilled edge.) 07 Care­fully spread and un­furl each petal on one side of the knot­ted string. 08 Re­peat on the other side of the string to com­plete your flower.

Step 2: Wrap the tree

Take one end of the tulle or chi on fabric and pin it firmly to the back of the tree at the base. Un­wind the fabric around the tree grad­u­ally work­ing your way up to the top. Se­cure the end in place with pins. Ad­just the fabric to achieve evenly spaced lay­ers.

Step 3: Cre­ate your flo­ral lei

Make a num­ber of flow­ers in a va­ri­ety of sizes and colours (as per Step 1). You might also add silk or other ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers into the mix. Pin the pa­per flow­ers into place on the fabric, mix­ing sizes and a grad­u­a­tion of colour as you go. If nec­es­sary se­cure flow­ers fur­ther us­ing tape. Poke any silk flow­ers into place.

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