A fes­tive din­ing ta­ble to daz­zle

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

As Christ­mas Day draws closer, many of us feel like break­ing from the holly, ivy, red and green tra­di­tion. That doesn’t mean we hate Christ­mas, sim­ply that we feel like a change. This year my ta­ble is go­ing to be al­most bri­dal: white, with a hint of glit­ter.

I’m start­ing with some thin-necked, sil­vered glass bot­tles, but any tall, nar­row bot­tle or vase would do. Filled with white wax flower and the odd branch of sil­ver birch, th­ese will form the be­gin­ning of the up­per storey for my ar­range­ment, and give an all-im­por­tant sense of light­ness.

I bought the wax flower from a florist (ap­prox­i­mately £1.75 per bushy stem – I used 10), but I like to use as much as pos­si­ble from the gar­den. That’s where sprigs of rose­mary come in. It’s use­ful to grow ‘Miss Jes­sopp’s Up­right’, which has ver­ti­cal stems rather than gnarled or trail­ing. Strip the bot­tom leaves and then sear the stem ends in boil­ing wa­ter for 20 sec­onds be­fore you ar­range them and they’ll last twice as long. Cut the tip out of each stem care­fully, snip­ping im­me­di­ately above a pair of leaves, and then cut another sec­tion, and another, down the stem. You can then use each one, as the cut end will be neatly hid­den in the den­sity of the leaves. The som­bre dark of rose­mary is ex­cel­lent in con­trast to

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