The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - GARDENING -

With such a state­ment piece hang­ing above, it’s im­por­tant to keep the ta­ble more sub­dued – some­times the most ef­fec­tive flow­ers are the sim­plest. Paper­white nar­cissi, helle­bores (sear stems in boil­ing wa­ter for 10 sec­onds and plunge into cold wa­ter to stop them flop­ping) or small sprigs of flow­er­ing shrubs such as daphne or win­ter-flow­er­ing honey­suckle are per­fect dot­ted along a ta­ble – and will also scent the room. with a blue silk rib­bon.

Keep con­tain­ers sim­ple too – un­fussy stoneware pots or bud vases are per­fect. A few or­na­men­tal grasses – such as pen­nise­tum or bil­lowy pan­icum – will add an­other taller layer of in­ter­est. Scat­ter small, lichen-cov­ered branches or cones (larch cones are more del­i­cate than reg­u­lar pine cones) around the ta­ble and add plenty of can­dles and tea lights.

With all th­ese dried grasses, safety is key. En­sure that your can­dles are not po­si­tioned where the flame can ig­nite any fo­liage and bear in mind that as can­dles burn down they can also catch on fo­liage be­neath them.

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