Plants are a big part of Christmas – holly, mistletoe and Christmas fir, or pine trees, just for starters.
Granny Mouse Country House & Spa’s gardening and events team got together to share ideas on decorating tips that incorporate natural vegetation, plants and flowers for your home and table this festive season.
1. Get creative with flowers from the garden: As we all know, at times like Christmas and Valentine’s, the prices of cut flowers rise because of the increased demand. Either choose flowers or foliage from your own garden, or combine smaller bunches of bought flowers with greens and grasses from your garden and you’ll have table and home decorations that create special memories.
2. Create a festive season garland or wreath: Make these to either hang on your front door to welcome guests or lie flat in the centre of your Christmas table. Either tie together a loop of thick rope or buy a ready-made twig garland. Then secure evergreens to this, using florist wire. Cover the wreath with greenery and then add pine cones from the gardens, glass baubles, tinsel and ribbons.
3. Go twiggy: If you don’t like artificial trees and haven’t got space to replant a small sapling in your garden after Christmas, try collecting a bunch of small branches or twigs and then standing these upright in a pot or large vase using pebbles or gravel from your local garden centre. Depending on your colour scheme, you can either leave them as they are, or spray them silver, gold or white before adding baubles and hanging decorations.
4. Branch out: Again, bunches of twigs, small logs or even driftwood can make the perfect base for memorable table decorations. Arrange these along the centre of the table and then add baubles and tinsel, small vases or jars with a few flowers or even tiny lights. If you are dining outside, you can even hang some branches with baubles and lights for a natural chandelier!
5. Leaf it this Christmas: Encourage your kids to gather different shaped dried leaves. When sprayed painted different colours, they make wonderful decorations, either placed along the centre of your table, or tied with cotton and hung on your Christmas or twig tree.
6. Create a Christmas float: Create a magical festive table decoration in a large shallow bowl by cutting away the stems of large flowers such as ranunculus or proteas and letting them bob in the water. Add floating candles and baubles for extra sparkle.
7. Go festive with flowers: A beautiful decorative bowl is ideal for displaying a low arrangement of blooms in seasonal colours. A great choice is stalky amaryllis, which look dramatic when cut short and partnered with other vivid shades. Use some oasis from your florist supply store or some chicken wire moulded into the inside of the bowl to hold the flowers in place. You can also buy plants like chrysanthemums, orchids and poinsettias and slip them into festive containers and then position them on the dining table, sideboard or in hallway to make a striking festive display.
8. Festive season succulents: Use these to make table decorations, wreaths and even mini Christmas trees. Whether you are using succulents from your garden or buying some from your local garden centre, simply snip off the heads, leaving as long a stem as possible. (If you put the stalks and roots that are left behind in a sunny spot, they’ll probably shoot again over Christmas).
Using floral wire or oasis, push the succulent “flowers” into place and add any additional decorations if you’d like a little more sparkle. You can use different succulents or a cluster of the same ones, depending on your décor and taste.
To make a mini Christmas tree, shape chicken wire into a cone and fill with moss. Spray with water and then insert your succulents. The beauty of using succulents as ornaments is that you can pop these hardy little plants in pots afterwards and add water so they can root for use in container gardens. You can even place small succulents in individual pots at place setting with name tags and give these to your guests as gifts to take home.
For more information contact 033 234 4071or go to www.grannymouse.co.za