Bring the outside in this Christmas

Bring the outside in this Christmas
Harlow wreath £125, Browning medium lantern £41, Browning small lantern £31 all available from Neptune,

Berry reds and greens take centre stage in December in the garden and in turn these colours can be brought inside and used to add to your Christmas decorations and festive cheer. Here are my favourite tips and tricks for making your home a beautifully natural winter wonderland courtesy of the seasonal gems in your garden:

Red hot

A favourite of many is the rich red euphorbia pulcherrima, better known as poinsettia; the colour sings with Christmas cheer and, with it being a time for entertaining, these plants also make great hostess gifts instead of bringing the traditional bottle of wine. Have a few in stock to give to loved ones and it makes for a nice break from the oodles of sweet treats we have at this time of year.

Meet me under the mistletoe

Keep your schemes bold and full of impact by using plenty of the same type of plant around the

house as you would in your garden. Mistletoe (viscum album) is a great centrepiece for kissing under! Make this extra large and tie with a big red bow to hang from the ceiling. The cheeky evergreen is as much an emblem of Christmas as the tree itself. Buy fresh and also use some poked into your wreath, following the theme through into your house.

Good golly it’s holly

Holly (ilex aquifolium) is perfect for wreath and garland-making; a favourite of mine is the Silver Queen, which has a cream margin on its leaves, making it look frosted. For an option which is not

as sharp as traditional holly, choose Alaska, which also bears beautiful red berries over winter. Place holly behind picture frames, and foliage and candles on the sideboard. Add some pine cones and spruce along mantlepieces with fairy lights strung along the branches. Bare winter branches have a delicate look, so use small baubles that catch the light dotted along them for a more modern and contemporary decoration.

Gilt trip

Silver birch branches can be used to make wreaths and entwined with holly for garlands. Wrap fairy lights in and around the branches and conceal the battery pack behind ribbon.

Glitter spray could be used on the branches and small baubles twisted onto the wreath using florist wire, or leave it beautifully simple as is.

Painted gold berries and pears mixed with seasonal foliage also make for a fabulous table centrepiece dotted with candles amongst the foliage in long candlesticks.

Other plants you can use to help decorate your home this Christmas include eucalyptus, berried ivy, ruscus, robusta, pittosporum, eryngium, roses and nerine.

And if your Christmas tree feels a bit sparse pad it out with additional foliage, such as eucalyptus and snowberry inserted between the branches.

Top tips for December

1 Dig over empty borders and prepare your soil for next year’s planting

2 Group potted plants together in a sheltered spot in the garden to protect them from the harshest winter weather

3 Get pruning – wisteria, fruit trees, roses and Japanese maples are just some of the plants that benefit from a winter prune

4 Look after the birds – clean feeders, stock up on fat balls and make sure that they have access to fresh water

5 Prune climbing roses now, removing diseased or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Prune older flowered sideshoots back by two thirds of their length

6 Prune Japanese maples (acers) and vines if needed, as they will bleed sap if pruning is done any later

7 Leave the faded flower heads on your hydrangeas until spring, as they provide frost protection to the swelling buds further down the stems

8 If any of your rose bushes suffered from blackspot or rust this summer, gather up and remove any fallen leaves to reduce the chance of infection next year

9 Lift and store dahlia tubers once their leaves are blackened by frost

10 Move containers of shrubs or bedding planters to a sheltered spot; clustering them together helps protect the root systems from suffering frost damage

11 Check that climbers are securely attached to supports with ties

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