With Stephanie Summerell Change4 Chalfont
WINTER is upon us and even if you love the outdoors it’s hard to get out and enjoy the garden as much as you might like to.
There are fewer garden chores, daylight hours are short, and bad weather can make the prospect of spending time outside less than appealing.
So how about bringing your garden indoors to enjoy?
With Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to collect some suitable plant material and get creative – and you don’t have to be an expert in floral display to create something really attractive!
In winter arrangements, greenery takes centre stage and acts as a great foil for the traditional Christmas colours of red and gold.
The best material to use is simply what you like most but pine, fir and spruce are great for indoor arrangements as they last well, and of course holly and ivy are traditional at Christmas.
If you don’t have suitable material growing in your garden, you could forage for some in the wild.
Wherever you find it though don’t overdo it – it’s best to take small amounts from several different plants (think of it as light pruning!) so that they can recover and enough is left to provide for birds and other local wildlife that depend on it for food and shelter.
Wash the foliage before use and preferably leave it to soak for 12 hours before arranging.
Remove some of the leaves near the bottom of each stem you are using and re-cut on the slant.
Just arranging a bunch of interesting foliage or tree branches of varying lengths in a container of water can look simple and elegant.
To set off your earthy display most effectively use a fairly heavy, solid container.
Or try arranging in floral foam. Make sure the foam is thoroughly wet – leave it in water overnight if possible and water regularly once your display is in place.
Start by creating a rough framework for your arrangement and then fill in the gaps.
The aim is to use enough material to completely hide the foam from view.
Add a few accessories such as sprayed pine cones, bows and baubles, bunches of cinnamon sticks or dried orange slices on wire to complete the festive look. Using odd numbers of each item makes the most interesting patterns.
Finally, a word of caution: Be aware that some berries can be poisonous to people and animals so they are best kept out of the reach of children and pets.
Pricklier types of holly should be displayed safely too and some greenery is flammable so keep it out of the way of log fires and candles.
Have a safe and decorative Christmas!
This lovely display, right, is a perfect adornment for the front door. Below, other ideas to bring your garden into the house for a super Christmas effect