With Stephanie Summerell Change4 Chal­font

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREENSPACES -

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

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