Counting down the days and still haven’t made your home sparkle enough?
Top florist Judith Blacklock, author of Simply Flower Arranging, has come up with three quick fix natural decorations you can make using flora and fauna from the garden…
1. Twinkling star
This star-shaped wreath uses tiny lights to make your front door stand out from the crowd. Danae racemosa (soft ruscus) is easy to grow in the garden and produces wonderful flexible stems of foliage.
You will need:
- Large piece of paper
- Florist’s stem tape
- 5 lengths of heavy-gauge wire 30 or 45cm long
- Hanging material such as twine or bind wire
- 3-5 stems Danae racemosa (Alexandrian laurel, soft ruscus)
- Reel wire
- Garland of artificial gold berries (optional)
- Battery-operated fairy lights
1. Draw a star on a large piece of paper to the size you need.
2. Using the stem, tape bind the heavy-gauge wires together to make one long length. Stretch the stem tape as you go.
3. Bend the wire into a star shape using the drawing as a guide. Secure the two ends with more stem tape.
4. Take a length of hanging material around a point of the star.
5. Wind the soft ruscus round the wire frame and secure using reel wire.
6. Repeat the process with the gold berries and the fairy lights. Tape or bind the battery pack of the lights to the back of the wreath so that it is secure and out of the way.
Top tip: When binding the soft ruscus to the frame, make sure it is not so loose that the shape is obscured, but not so tight that you lose the natural movement of the foliage.
2. Bittersweet ring
Brighten up your door with this long-lasting wreath.
You will need:
- Willow ring or wire frame of a size to suit
- Fresh stems of cornus (dogwood)
- Florists’ wire
- Fresh or dried sprays of celastrus (bittersweet)
- Small piece of biodegradable foam about 15cm long and 5cm in diameter
- Small piece of 1.25cm chicken wire
- 10-12 vibrant-coloured roses
- Kumquats and tangerines
1. Wrap lengths of dogwood around the wire frame and secure in place with lengths of wire. Use sufficient dogwood so that the wire frame is well covered.
2. Trail the stems of bittersweet through the wreath.
3. Soak the foam and wrap the chicken wire around. Secure the open ends with short lengths of wire to make a parcel.
4. Take a couple of lengths of florists’ wire and pass under the chicken wire and onto the willow or metal frame. Twist the wire ends together firmly to attach the foam cage securely to the wreath.
5. Wire the tangerines and kumquats (see technique below) and place in the foam.
6. Cut the roses short and tuck between the fruits.
Top tip: The striking red and yellow berries stay on the branch once dried, so this wreath can be used again and again to give winter sunshine.
Wiring fruits: Take a medium or heavy gauge wire through the fruit and out the far side, about one-third of the way up the fruit. For tangerines, which are larger and heavier than the kumquats, repeat with a second wire at right-angles to the first. Bring the wires down and twist together. Alternatively, you could insert cocktail sticks into the base of the fruit. Place more than one stick into a fruit to prevent rotation.
Top tip: Take care. All parts of the celastrus are poisonous to humans if eaten, so do not use if there are young children who may put the fruits in their mouths.
3. Simple and stylish candle vase
This minimalist design will look striking in any contemporary home.
You will need:
Tall cylindrical vase
Thick church candle
2-3 stems deciduous holly (Ilex verticillata)
1. Place a small amount of florists’ fix on the base of the candle and secure it to the bottom of the vase.
2. Pour the shells around the candle. Fill about one-quarter of the vase.
3. Cut the holly stems into shorter lengths and place around the candle.
Top tip: You could use beans, pulses, cranberries, sand, cloves or glass beads in place of the shells. The holly stems will last well out of water. Florists’ fix will only adhere to a clean, dry surface.
Simply Flower Arranging by Judith Blackstock is published by The Flower Press Ltd. Available now.