This side of Christmas, you’ll be thinking most about wreaths, garlands and table decorations (although there’s absolutely no reason why those can’t be carried through to January and beyond too).
If you’re making a wreath using real foliage, avoid floral foam which isn’t necessarily the best eco option. Instead, create your base by securing damp moss to a wire frame using floristry wire which you can continue to mist while your wreath is up to keep the rest of the foliage fresh. You could also invest in a twiggy wreath like our Hollington (or make one using bendy twigs of willow or silver birch) and then weave through seasonal foliage that doesn’t need to be in water. Evergreens like holly and ivy, berry stems such as rosehips and, of course, dried plants will all be fine for a time. If your wreath is a one year only affair, then pop it outside come twelfth night so birds can forage from it for food or nesting materials.
As for garlands, sometimes simple is very often the best. Choose just one plant – ideally with both foliage and berry interest, such as yew, holly or berried ivy, or else a couple to give you both – and use masses of it. Generally, garlands look best when they’re full and generous.
Then, when it comes to table decorations, one of our very favourite looks is to use potted plants. Place plants in their plastic pots into decorative indoors pots, or plant them straight into bowls and glasses temporarily, finishing both with moss around the base of the plant. In either case, you can then transplant them into a more permanent pot or the ground outside once you’ve finished using them as table decoration. All the smaller plants we mentioned earlier would work well – ferns, heathers, hellebores, cyclamen – as well as forced bulbs such as snowdrops and delicate narcissi (find out more about forcing here. You’re a bit late to do it yourself for Christmas now, but could still get ahead for later in winter, and you can also buy forced bulbs ready potted). Other easy tabletop ideas include small posies of delicate snowdrops or berried twigs in tumblers, and a sprig of rosemary tied to each napkin with ribbon.
Around your dining table, don’t forget your chairs either. Simply gather a bundle of foliage and hanging decorations, then tie them all together by the stems using ribbon, leaving enough trailing to tie around the back of the chair. This will only work with wooden chairs of course, but you could also do the same on doors instead of wreaths.
If you’re looking to add something a little more unusual into your decorating this Christmas, turn both to kitchen garden plants and the contents of your larder. We mentioned rosemary and bay earlier, but chillies (either on the plants or snipped off), pomegranates, cranberries and limes all also make interesting additions to wreaths, garlands and tabletop displays. Dried citrus is a classic too, of course, but consider the red varieties of oranges and grapefruits instead, which will turn a subtle ruby colour when dried.