Thrifty dec­o­ra­tions, in­side and out

Kapi-Mana News - - GARDENING -

If you are look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion to liven up your indoor and out­door spa­ces this fes­tive sea­son, the an­swer might be as close as your own back­yard.

As the weather warms up, the cob­webs are be­ing dusted off bar­be­cues the length and breadth of New Zealand. It seems only nat­u­ral that many peo­ple are keen to freshen up their en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas in an­tic­i­pa­tion of an­other great Kiwi sum­mer.

Most of us can­not af­ford new out­door fur­ni­ture or a to­tal gar­den makeover ev­ery year, but with a few clever tips from the ex­perts you can add some low-cost de­signer touches to your indoor and out­door en­ter­tain­ing ar­eas.

It is as easy as drop­ping into your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre and grab­bing some ba­sic ter­ra­cotta or plas­tic pots. These can be trans­formed into de­signer pots with a lit­tle paint. Tester pots are usu­ally all you will need.

Plant them up with the likes of gera­ni­ums or im­pa­tiens and you have a big im­pact for a small price.

If you are us­ing a va­ri­ety of coloured an­nu­als then it is a good idea to choose a uni­form colour for the pots so that they do not com­pete with the flow­ers. If you are dis­play­ing them in rows, odd num­bers look best.

With coloured an­nu­als avail­able at gar­den cen­tres for as lit­tle as a few dol­lars, you can af­ford to buy twice as many and al­ter­nate your colour schemes reg­u­larly for an en­tirely dif­fer­ent look.

If you pre­fer the per­ma­nence of peren­ni­als, try plant­ing up red and white roses. These cre­ate a fes­tive yet stylish look per­fect for this time of year, and will be handy for cut flow­ers as well if you choose a va­ri­ety such as Ice­berg (white) or the gor­geous In­grid Bergman (red).

If you have planted them in pots you can sim­ply move them around next year or un­der­plant them with con­trast­ing coloured an­nu­als such as petu­nias to change the look.

Plants are also a great way to re­fresh the look of indoor ar­eas. Try in­tro­duc­ing some pot­ted indoor plants such as be­go­nias and co-or­di­nat­ing them with cush­ions and a con­trast­ing ta­ble run­ner (which you can eas­ily make your­self) and in­stantly your indoor space takes on a dif­fer­ent look.

Re­fresh­ing your look is not just about tan­ta­lis­ing the vis­ual senses. Scented can­dles have had a resur­gence of late, but why go to that ex­pense when mother na­ture has liv­ing scent on tap? Try plant­ing laven­der or le­mon ver­bena by en­trance ways. It is a lovely way to make your guests feel wel­come be­fore they have even stepped over the thresh­old, and you will not need a smoke alarm.

TV pre­sen­ter and makeover ex­pert Simon Shreeve from TVNZ’s new pro­gramme has some tips for cre­at­ing a mil­lion-dol­lar look on a shoe­string bud­get:

Do not over­look your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre when it comes to fes­tive dec­o­ra­tions. Mak­ing a Christ­mas wreath your­self has never been eas­ier. Most gar­den cen­tres of­fer a se­lec­tion of wreath bases or frames which can be com­bined with what­ever is in your own gar­den. There are no rules, so go wild. If you are not sure where to start, try with a green base such as ivy if you have some handy, or camelia leaves if you fancy a rich glossy fin­ish.

If your gar­den boasts a bounty of hy­drangeas at this time of year, why not in­cor­po­rate these into your wreath? Add some baby pine cones, and what­ever other ma­te­ri­als are handy such as sea shells or drift­wood. Depend­ing upon what ma­te­ri­als you have cho­sen for your wreath, you could fin­ish off with lash­ings of or­ganza or silk rib­bon to com­ple­ment the rest of your Christ­mas decor.

When it comes to your Christ­mas ta­ble set­ting, less is def­i­nitely more. This year, I am favour­ing a sim­ple yet el­e­gant theme for our Christ­mas ta­ble. All of the ma­te­ri­als will come from the back­yard or a gar­den cen­tre, so it is easy. For us, that will mean home­grown red and white roses. Be­cause old is the new ‘‘new’’, we will also have soy can­dles placed in old Agee pre­serv­ing jars. Each place set­ting will fea­ture a small buxus plant in a tin, with the guests’ names etched on the side and tied with vine from the gar­den. It will not break the bank but it will look spe­cial, and that is what Christ­mas en­ter­tain­ing is all about. Some­times peo­ple try too hard with fussy tin­sel and plas­tic ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions when some green­ery from the gar­den and a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion can work won­ders. De­sign is about mar­ry­ing tex­ture, depth and colour and most Kiwi gar­dens pro­vide un­lim­ited in­spi­ra­tion if you look hard enough.

For many, Christ­mas is a time to re­mem­ber those who can­not be with us and one way of do­ing this is to cre­ate a ta­ble cen­tre­piece from oa­sis foam, cover it in green­ery and place a can­dle for each loved one who is not able to be with you.

This year, take the stress out of gift buy­ing with Gar­den­ing NZ gift cards. They al­low re­cip­i­ents to choose their own presents from an ar­ray of items on of­fer at gar­den cen­tres na­tion­wide – not just plants. You can buy Gar­den­ing NZ gift cards ei­ther on­line at gar­dengift­cards.co.nz or from your lo­cal Gar­den­ing NZ re­tailer. These pocket-size cards fit neatly into an en­ve­lope, al­low you to nom­i­nate the value and are re­deemable at Gar­den­ing NZ re­tail­ers na­tion­wide.

Do not for­get to ask at your gar­den cen­tre for your free Go Gar­den­ing Mag­a­zine. The sum­mer edi­tion is out now.

Keep it sim­ple: Simon Shreeve from TVNZ’s new Ho­tel SOS pro­gramme says some­times

peo­ple try too hard with fussy tin­sel and plas­tic ta­ble dec­o­ra­tions for the Christ­mas ta­ble, when some green­ery from the gar­den

and a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion can work won­ders.

Na­ture’s beauty: When it comes to your Christ­mas ta­ble set­ting, less is def­i­nitely more. A sim­ple ar­range­ment of home­grown red and white roses can look stun­ning.

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