The Christmas season starts with an Advent Ring, with a week to go ours is just starting to need the occasional dead piece replacing.
Last year I went on a Christmas flower arranging workshop organised by one of our WI ladies who is pretty high up in the flower arranging world, one arrangement we made was a topiary style fir tree. It was made from an oasis ball on a stick in a plant pot. I’d saved mine so I soaked the oasis again and covered it in short pieces of cupressus. Last year I made a partridge and a pear so I sat the partridge on top and hung the golden partridge from the side. It’s stood in one of the windows in our conservatory.
We have a long, thinnish conservatory, at Christmas I place a Christmas tree in each window, lots of different styles and sizes, wooden ones, wire ones, tall, small. The partridge fits in nicely and adds a bit of height.
One new addition to the Christmas tree room is the bare tree, I’ve not ‘got’ bare trees before, until we went to Castle Howard….Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire (where Brideshead Revisited was filmed!) the house opens at Christmas time when it’s all decorated for Christmas, it’s absolutely beautiful. One huge tree in the atrium has over 2000 baubles on it!
There were quite a few bare trees there, one in particular was covered with clear, gold and silver decorations and candles, it was stunning. I’ve got a contorted hazel in the garden in a pot, so I brought it in, tied a ribbon round the base, added some white fairy lights and then hung a variety of silver and gold baubles, fairies, snowflakes and the like. The corkscrew branches of the hazel were perfect for hanging decorations on. I love it! It’s only small, but it’s so pretty! I call it my Castle Howard Tree!
On our back door we always have a wreath or something similar, sometimes I make like a foliage bouquet which hangs down, they’re great as they are very quick to make and you can easily make them several feet long for a dramatic entrance! This year I’ve used a block of oasis on a paddle I got a last years workshop. I covered it with foliage and added some dried fruit on wires. It’s not come out quite as big as I anticipated but it looks good on the door. Somehow the paddle doesn’t seem to upset the dogs as much as the bouquet did, I think that must have moved a lot more so they kept thinking someone was at the door, very annoying after a couple of days!
My last arrangement is a floor-standing candlestick, I stuck a square of oasis on the top and a candle in the centre and then filled it was green and variegated foliage, it took a while to get the shape right, I certainly lost it at one point, but I kept snipping bits off and adding others until it looked ok. A gold bow and some sprigs of artificial foliage add a bit of sparkle.
As the sign in the dining room says, ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’