With the cost of living so high, many of us will be cutting back this Christmas. But did you know a good rummage around your garden could produce a whole host of festive foliage to decorate your home, create table centre pieces and even wreaths for your front door? Here Chris Bonnett , founder of Gardening Express, offers his tips on what you should be looking out for and how best to use it.
The festive season is well and truly upon us now and it won’t be long before trees are up, homes are decorated and the mince pie eating begins in earnest. Head out into your garden or public open spaces and you could find lots of festive foliage to spruce up your home without spending a penny.
A simple sprig of holly looks lovely on a fireplace, fresh herbs will add a wonderful smell to a door wreath and glossy, dark green bay leaves will give a real opulent feel. The trick in picking out the plants that will add to your festive decor is knowing what to cut, how long it will last, and when to replace it.
Holly has to be the perfect Christmas foliage. With its distinctive glossy, leathery leaves and its eye-catching red berries, it really does make a statement. If you can find English Holly, this is the best one for decorating. Holly tends to last up to two weeks depending on how warm your home is. Keeping it in water will increase its lifespan.
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This can be a tricky festive plant to find. Mistletoe tends to grow in host plants like poplar, hawthorn and lime and in open spaces like orchards, churchyards and private gardens. Indoors, your cut mistletoe will last seven to ten days. If you have it outside or somewhere cool, it should still look good three weeks later.
This delicious-smelling herb is a good choice for your Christmas wreath. Try adding a sprig to your festive place settings too. Rosemary will wilt in a couple of days so it may need replacing during the holidays.
Eucalyptus will make a charming Christmas garland up the stairs or over a fireplace. Its blue green leaves will certainly be a focal point. Cut, eucalyptus will last around four days out of water.