Posted: Wednesday 11 December 2013
by Pippa Greenwood
One of my biggest bugbears is seeing tinsel and other paraphernalia appear in the shops alongside Halloween pumpkins.
One of my biggest bugbears is seeing tinsel and other paraphernalia appear in the shops alongside Halloween pumpkins. Now, in the third week of December, I'm starting to feel festive. I'm allowing myself to mention it: Christmas.
I'm coaxing myself into the yuletide spirit by harvesting some of the holly berries from my garden. My advance planning is reaping rewards: the fleece and netting have deterred the birds from the best seasonal red berries that they'd otherwise have eaten.
I'm also busy gathering masses of foliage - from my own garden and the gardens of anyone I felt I could ask - for my multitude of festive decorations. I already have enough material for at least two Christmas wreaths (if the kids squabble over who's going to make the wreath, my solution is for them to make one each: one for the front door and one for the back). I also have enough foliage for my table decorations for the big day. In addition, I'm decorating the house with glorious sprigs of green and red berries - tucking them into picture frames, trailing them along window sills and indeed on just about every other surface in the house. I love making good use of greenery like this, and the great thing is that it doesn't cost a penny.
On the subject of pennies, the contents of the garden shed are my tip for last-minute Christmas gifts: I often include a packet or two of seeds in a Christmas card. It's a great way of introducing friends to seed sowing, or old hands to new flowers and vegetables.
It's official: gardens and gardening provide so many festive solutions!
28/12/2013 at 00:38
I was introduced to wreath making for the first time this year by a member of a community group I belong to in Nottingham. I take the point about using natural materials probably being more rewarding as well as costing nothing and I may well make some further experiments next year
wire coat-hanger makes quite a good base for shaping a wreath although I have seen drawings of how to use willow (or possibly Cornus) thin branches and interweave these with holly and conifer branches.
I am trying to grow standard hollies from cuttings; a slow process but it is interesting to watch them grow and the variegated kinds look attractive at any season. I've also tried my hand at Fuschia rings for the first time this year - possibly they could be used as Christmas decorations too? Watch this space!