This year I’m making a big effort to keep my Christmas decorations natural and recyclable. Like most people, I haven’t got loads of spare time this week, so I don’t want anything too complicated. That means wandering round the garden and the woods working out what will look good inside with a minimum of effort, and it’s a great excuse to head to the lovely local market and buy some beautiful bulbs and plants in seasonal whites.
There’s nothing more Christmassy than arriving home from a cold shopping trip and bringing armfuls of hyacinth pots and pure white cyclamen into the house. At £1 or £2 each, they’re incredibly good value, as they can be planted out in the garden once the festive season is over, so nothing is wasted.
I made this green ivy bunting last year and it’s a cinch. I cut back lots of ivy from our fence – my neighbour will be happy about that – and pulled the leaves from it. The stalks went on the fire, and I just cut heart shapes from the leaves and threaded them on to some thick cotton using a large needle. You don’t have to shape them of course. This natural bunting only keeps for about a week before it dries up, but it’s so easy to replace if you want to.
I’ve hung strings of this over mirrors, and pinned it to the top of the dresser, combined with some sparkly feathers from Wilko. I might wind some around the Christmas tree, too. Much more environmentally friendly than tinsel!
Want something with a bit more bling?
Add a spritz of fake snow or silver spray to make ivy look more interesting. Combine this with some pine branches (mine were offcuts from the Christmas tree) and you have a free festive bouquet.
This is the time of year that my vintage pots and vessels come into their own for temporary bulb and plant containers.
I keep my eye out all year for anything I can repurpose. This Christmas I’ve got:
- old cake pans and tins
- ceramic jelly moulds
- marmalade pots
- loaf tins
I just add a layer of gravel to the bottom of each pot before putting in a few handfuls of multi purpose compost. Slide the bulbs from their plastic pots into their new home, push down the compost gently around them, and top with moss or a bit more gravel. Keep them moist but don’t overwater them.
This cake tin was too rusty for baking, but makes an ideal home for hyacinths.
Succulents get a seasonal spin in an old fluted flan tin.
Cluster them together on a dresser, the more mis-matched the better!My Christmas dresser
This old copper beauty was my treat to myself. I bought it at December’s Newark Antiques Fair for £20. The size is perfect for an indoor planter and a centrepiece. I bought cyclamen and ivy at the market for £1 each, and filled it up.
Take the plants out of their pots. Add some gravel to the base of the planter for drainage. Put the plants into the bowl, fill with a little more soil – and you’re done!
My other tip for this year is the branch hanger. You’ve probably seen these on Pinterest. I popped over to the woods at dusk last week and gathered some sticks to bring home. I’ve got these hanging up everywhere. They are very easy to suspend, with just a loop of twine at either end.
This one is plain and simple, with birch stars and more of Wilko’s silver feather gift tags, but I’ve also hung greenery and silvery baubles from some of the others.
I’ve also gathered big bunches of bare willow twigs from the lawn, and tied them into a switch with string. I then hung them up, twined with copper fairy lights. I feel as if I’m in a woodland grotto at night! To add to the effect, my mini olive tree has also come inside for a temporary break. It also gets the fairy light treatment.
There are a few ideas for budget-friendly natural decorations. I hope you enjoy them.
Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for 2018.