How to make a Christmas garland

Christmas garlands are a fabulous way to decorate a fireplace or staircase and they’re much easier to make than you’d think. This fireplace garland took me two hours and that included the time spent in the garden picking the foliage.

Equipment needed:

  • Foliage from the garden, evergreen glossy leaves last the longest. I used branches from non-drop Christmas tree, Ivy, holy, garrya and dried cardoon flower heads
  • florist wire
  • garden twine
  • garden snips or secateurs
  • fairy lights
  • ribbon (optional)
  • gold old Spray paint (optional)
Christmas decorating foliage from the garden
Equipment required

Measure the length of the garden twine to the length of garland you require. Bunch three or so stems of one type of foliage together, tie stems firmly with wire to secure in place. Then wire to the start of the garden twine.

Note the stems wired together and then wired to the twine.

Take the next wired bunch of foliage and wire it to the twine so that it just covers the stems and wires of the previous bunch, and repeat.

Once I had a length for the first section of my garland I decided to secure the twine into place, with nails in the top two corners and in the centre. If you decide to continue working on a table and it’s for a fireplace make sure you’ve marked the middle point on the twine as once you get to the centre the foliage needs to be tied in the opposite direction.

Attaching the garden twine to the nails on the fireplace

Continue to tie in the bunches of foliage with the garland in situ.

tieing foliage to a garland
The first half of the garland. Please note the cardoon heads have only just been spray painted gold so still wet and needing the protection of paper!

In the centre I chose a single stem of christmas tree to splay across and then directioned another single stem of christmas tree to mirror on the other side. I continued the garland attaching foliage in the same order as the first side, to mirror and keep the garland balanced. Once the main garland was completed I added extra gold sprayed cardoon heads, a central Christmas bauble, battery powered (I have no power point near the fireplace) fairy lights on a bronze coloured wire. You can add extras like ribbon bows if you like.

The finished garland
The centre of the garland

Winter beauty in a vase

Flowers in my home are as important as pictures on the walls. I’ve said this many times, but I really do feel that our home loses some of its soul when its not filled with flowers from the garden.

In October dahlias, zinnias, cosmos and the like are still bringing large displays of colour into our homes, then the sudden shock of frost can leave rooms looking bare and empty, without the vases of blooms we become accustomed to during the year. There’s a great risk that the winter months of November, January and February can look stark and cold with that empty feeling similar to when Christmas decorations come down, the warmth and fun of the festive season over, replaced with cold, damp, monochrome winter days. We need to start planning alternative vase displays for those tricky months winter months.

With the popularity of naturalistic (prairie) planting in our gardens we’ve come to realise the beauty of our garden borders in winter. The great proponent of this and my garden hero, Piet Oudolf values the garden in winter as much as any other season, he believes the winter garden and its magnificent decay is about texture and shape, the seed heads and the skeletons. This has become an important feature of my own garden, I’m also keen to bring it into the home, filling the flower gaps and embracing the detailed structural beauty of the winter garden inside as well as out.

So, I’ve been out in the garden looking for inspiration.

eupatorium seed heads

Echinops seed head

Echinacea seed heads

These are some of my winter arrangements so far:

A big crash!

Apologies for the lack of blogs. My service providers server had a bad crash and sadly I’ve lost all postings since November. I’m going to have a bash at reposting, then hopefully I’ll be back up and running.

In the meantime here’s a picture of snowdrops emerging from under our Oak tree today.snowdrops

A visit from a Kestrel

We’ve just been visited by a Kestrel who sat on our telegraph wire, starred me out, then moved onto the TV areal, and then off. I’ve not noticed a Kestrel visit before. I often hear the loud call of hunting buzzards high above in groups but until now we’ve not seen a Kestrel.

Kestrel on telegrapg wireThe Kestrel on our telegraph wire

Kestrel on our TV arealKestrel on our TV areal

Kestrel leaving usThe Kestrel leaving us




Garden honesty stall open for the summer

The Produce from the Garden £1 honesty stall is open again for business. Today’s delicacy is Rhubarb. Flowers and much more to come in the next few weeks.

We’re on Claygate Rd on the way to Laddingford.

Honesty Stall

Courgettes planted

I eagerly await the year’s first courgettes, my impatience to start cropping always leads me to plant out too early, stalling the crop. This year I’ve held back waiting until the end of the month. During May I’ve potted on the young courgette plants twice, preventing them from becoming pot bound. I last did this a week ago and was amazed to see the root development in this time. There are other advantages to planting courgettes out late, whilst clearing the raised bed ready for planting I discovered over 50 slugs (they were all divided in two!), waiting a few extra weeks the plants stems develop and thicken giving a little extra slug protection.

Courgettes from under glassCourgettes finally ready to go out

The prepared raised bedThe prepared raised bed

Courgette roots that have developed within a weekA weeks worth of roots!

I’ve installed a watering system with a spur to each thirsty courgette plant. I have also made a bowl like ring of earth around each plant to keep the water directly on the plants roots.

Planted courgettesPlanted courgettes with watering system installed

Hopefully this year’s extra care and attention will reward us with early bumper crops.

May bank holiday, tulips and rhubarb

It’s May bank holiday weekend, so far the weather’s held out. 1920’s jazz is drifting around our house and garden from the husbands newly acquired gramophone, the boys have pitched the tent and are planning to sleep in the garden tonight (they’ll of course be back in their beds by 8.30pm). The tulips are blooming and I’ve picked our first crop of rhubarb this year. I have one Rhubarb forcer and we all look forward to the early delicacy of tender and delicious forced Rhubarb. I love the baby pink colour of the stems, with three boys there is very little pink in my life so it is to be savoured!

Rhubarb forcerThe rhubarb forcer

Forced Rhubarb from under the forcerForced rhubarb from under the pot

Forced RhubarbMy rhubarb crop for pudding – yum!

Tulips in the cutting borderTulips from the cut flower border, looking stunning and filling the house with colour

A week in February

A friend passed on a Facebook challenge to post a nature photograph every day for a week. It has been great fun and a lovely snap shot of a week in February. Below is the compilation of the weeks posts.

Day 1 Hardy Cyclamen leaves growing under a tree in our garden, I think the leaves are more striking than their beautiful flowers.

Hardy Cyclamen

Day 2 Lichen growing on our Crabapple tree. I love the rich mustard yellow colour of lichen.


Day 3 Broad bean flowers in February, I find that as disturbing as daffodils blooming in December!

Broadbean flowers

Day 4 Artichoke leaves. Young silver leaves with the texture of velvet, an opulent, statuesque must have for every garden. The globes they produce are a summer delicacy, the leaves look fabulous cut and placed in a vase in the kitchen.

Artichoke leaves

Day 5 Our oak tree on this frosty morning. This beautiful majestic oak is the focal point of our garden, it’s the home to many birds, my barometer of the seasons and it’s bows the anchor for my boys treasured rope swing.

Oak tree in frost

Day 6 Muscari (Grape hyacinth). One of my favourite early sping (!) cut flowers.

Muscari (Grape hyacinth)

Day 7 Some daffodils cut for the table. They may be early this year but their stems are weak, breaking under the weight of their blooms in the rain.

Daffoldils on the table