At this time of year, “walking in a winter wonderland” is my favourite pass time. The dog, a warm coat and my little one strapped to my back while exploring the countryside by my home is the perfect way to blow away the winter blues.
But do you know what’s better? Coming home with a trug full of the foliage we’ve found that day, making a cup of tea and adorning every inch of the house with plumes of spruce, holly and what my hometown is famous for, mistletoe, all with some Bing Crosby playing in the background.
It is easy, entertaining, engaging and almost entirely free and most certainly festive!
Last month I showed you how easy it is to make an autumn wreath to adorn your front door; the same can be done for any season but is most accustomed to Christmas. But there’s more than just the exterior that can be dressed; stairs, mantelpieces, furniture, all you need is some string, wire and all that beautiful foliage that you’ve collected.
Add citrus slices to decorations for colour. Bake thin slices at 100°C for three hours.
Bunch together a mixture of foliage together, keeping the larger pieces at the back and tie them together. Repeat until you’ve got enough bunches to line up against a piece of string or wire the same length as the area that you are dressing, ensuring that you take into account a need for layering them up, an inch or two should be sufficient.
Make loops on the end of your string so that you can easily attach the finished article to your area. Place your first bunch at the end pointing outwards and attach with wire or string. Layer the next bunch on and attach to the other, incorporating your string. Continue this process until you reach the middle.
Do the same to the other side of the string, attaching bunches so that they point outwards. Once you have reached the centre, add your last, and most lavish bunch, to the middle pointing either up or down to connect the two sides together.
Add any extras such as feathers, flowers, dried oranges or ornaments. My Father always brings me lots of feathers so they finally find a use at this time of year. Using a can of silver or gold spray paint can add a bit of sparkle to your decorations too. Tie your garlands to every surface that you can find to bring the outside in!
Our natural foliage is such a versatile and cheap way of decorating at this time of year; How about creating a natural looking bouquet in a vase, jar or any container that you may have. Table decorations, pieces of spruce attached to your Christmas presents or make a small bunch for a unique napkin tie. The possibilities are endless for a truly green Christmas!
Look out for the little fellas
Always try and be thoughtful of the wildlife at this time of year and try to avoid taking too much foliage which may contain food or a home for them.
Good plants to forage
We've suggested a few along the way, watch out though, as Yew is poisonous and Ivy is an irritant, some other plants may be an irritant to gloves are recommended and always wash your hands afterwards.