One of the things I love to do in December is to make my own Christmas decorations. I don’t have any traditional holly or mistletoe to hand (though there’s plenty of ivy!), but a quick forage around my garden or neighbourhood usually results in plenty of other materials suitable for the season.
I went for a brisk half hour walk recently and found the following:
- Coloured dogwood and willow stems
- Ivy (not used in the end)
- Cotoneaster, guelder rose and sloe berries plus a mysterious pink one
- Rose hips in clusters and/or singletons (avoid any shrivelled ones – this also applies to the berries)
- Clematis seed heads
There were plenty of other materials I could have used, especially as I also want to make a wreath for my door: a project for another day. If I’d gone a little further afield I could have had pine cones and teasel heads too.
The above picture shows modest spoils – that’s plenty to decorate a small tree and there’s no point in being greedy. If you’d like to gather a similar haul, ensure you cut stems of around 24-30 inches that are fairly straight and cut the rose hips, guilder rose and clematis heads with 2-4 inches of stem to work with.
As you can see I’ve used the willow stems to make mini wreaths and the berries have been threaded onto wire to make a similar sized circular ornament or onto black cotton to make strings of ‘beads’. The multiheaded rosehips were simply cleared of their tiny thorns and the guelder rose and clematis heads left as picked.
Equipment you will need to do the same:
- Secateurs (used to trim off any bits of stem left sticking out of the mini wreaths)
- Floristry wire (or any thin wire you have to hand)
- Pliers (used to cut the wire and to ensure the ends are flush with the wire on the finished ornament rather than left sticking out)
- Needle and black cotton
You may also want to add silver or gold spray paint, glitter or fake snow to your creations but because my decorations are staying outside, I’ve stuck with the natural look
Here are a few of the finished ornaments hanging on my potted apple tree. The Clematis heads, guelder rose berries and rosehips can either be tied directly to the tree with black cotton, or longer lengths of the same used to make them into dangling ornaments. For speed I’ve just hung the mini wreaths and the circular ornaments over convenient branches.
If you’re worried the berries will be too tempting for your littlies, then you can use cranberries instead. Have a look around your garden, see what you have to hand and have a go – the only limit is your imagination.
Have fun and a Merry Christmas!
Guest Article: Michele from Veg Plotting
Finalist: Blog of the Year - Garden Media Guild Awards 2009