All things bright and beautiful. Free festive foliage decorations
Its just about time to deck the halls
because the month of December is less than a week away. You will need to put 'decorations' near the top of the 'to do list'! It is, of course, very easy to purchase ready-made door wreaths, rings and swags but you might be missing out on some fun! Stepping out to gather festive foliage really gets you in the mood for Christmas and it need not take as long as you might think. There are dozens of plants that you can use for making Christmas decorations
. In fact the gardens and hedgerows are teaming with twigs, leaves and berries that can all make Christmas bright and beautiful. You can harvest for free this festive season!
Holly, or Ilex, comes in many different forms and the glossy foliage plus red berries means it is already dressed for Christmas!
The quintessential outdoor Christmassy plant, apart from the Christmas tree, is holly.
is certainly a versatile evergreen, with its glossy green or variegated leaves and of course the female plant generally has luscious red berries. Because of its flexible stems, holly is ideal for use in festive door rings
and it can also be threaded into a swag. Team this plant with ivy and you have the perfect partnership. You can also purchase a door ring template
to help you form your creative decoration.
A wreath ring template makes the creation of a door ring really simple!
Christmas door rings are easy to make using evergreen foliage such as this conifer foliage. Team it with baubles, ribbon and dried fruit or spice.
Plant foliage and berries can be used for all sorts of Christmas decorations
Ivy is, by nature, a twining, plant with long tendrils.
You can use ivy for threading into a Christmas wreath, festive swag or table decoration. Both holly and ivy can be harvested from the countryside for free. Just bear in mind that you will need to seek permission to take greenery from private land. Are there conservation issues about gathering foliage from hedgerows? No, very rarely, provided you are not uprooting the plants. Beware, however, of gathering unusual or rare plants from the wild. Take care not to take moss from the wild as the damp habitats in which it thrives are easily destroyed.
Ivy can be harvested from public green spaces. It's such a versatile plant for Christmas decorations.
Beware of gathering moss as its habitats aren't always robust.
Next, theres mistletoe.
Mistletoe isnt an easy plant to gather as it generally hangs out near the tops of trees. Viscum album
is a parasitic evergreen plant that forms a sphere-like cloud. It hangs around in host trees such as apple, poplar and lime. This semi-parasitic plant lives off the nutrients and water from its host. But you might need to take care if you are considering collecting it from the wild. Mistletoe will probably be too high to access without using a ladder and you'll need to gain permission from the land-owner. Taking a ladder on to common land might not be very practical so the best idea is to find a local supplier and buy direct.
Mistletoe isn't the easiest plant to harvest from the wild. It is semi-parasitic and lives high in apple and poplar trees.
There are plenty more opportunities for gathering free festive foliage
When you step out into the countryside on the countdown to Christmas there are plenty of opportunities for gathering festive foliage. Look for conifer foliage, fir cones, teasels
, seed heads, twigs and even fungi. The twigs, seed heads and teasels look wonderful tied with red ribbon and many people like to spray them with a glittery gold or silver paint. The leathery leaves of evergreens such as Camellia
and evergreen Euonymus
lend themselves well to coming indoors and there are more delicate shapes worth considering too. Fennel heads, spent Sedum flowers and even hogweed seed heads have great structure. They can be arranged into a table decoration
adorned with candles and your Christmas will come alive.
Making Christmas decorations can be a family affair!
Giving living plants for health and happiness
Its the season of giving
and most people like to believe that they have chosen their presents wisely. Most would prefer to avoid giving presents that will be tucked away in a cupboard, never to see the light of day again. Then there's the whole minefield of the re-gifted
present, which could be embarrassing if you are the recipient of something you gave away in the past! There are many ways to avoid the trap of buying unwanted gifts, and perhaps the best is to give something perishable. If it can be eaten, drunk or grown it has a good chance of being used and not considered to be useless.
Santa heralds the season of giving!
These make great presents (click on the above link to view them!). Not only are they lovely to look at, both before and during the flowering period, but they give a recipient a sense of purpose and achievement too. Most bulbs can be planted out into the garden once they have finished flowering. This is a gift that just keeps on giving, year after year. Popular flower bulbs include Crocus, Narcissi, Iris, Daffodil, Muscari and Hyacinth. They are so easy to grow. Buy an all-inclusive kit that includes compost and an attractive container so that the recipient doesnt have to find suitable equipment. They will be charmed!
Planting kits make lovely presents!