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Deck the Halls with......Decorations from the garden

Posted by sheiladearing on 07 Dec 2009 at 02:06 PM

It has now become a tradition that we make a garland for decorating the visitor centre doorway into the garden using natural materials cut from the garden.


We firstly measure the length of rope required (some ropes do stretch a bit!), ours was 26 feet long! We also needed about 10 spools of florists’ wire.

We collected buckets of different greenery, there were five different conifers used: Taxus baccata, Tsuga heterophylla, Picea omorika, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana and the lovely coppery coloured dead parts of Cryptomeria japonica; all of which give lovely contrasting foliage effects; this can be increased by using the undersides of some of the foliage as well.


The first job is preparation! The collected foliage is cut to size and for some of the finer material, such as the Chamaecyparis, two pieces are used to make sprigs of about the same thickness. These are each wired by folding a hook in the end of the wire and then wrapping the wire tightly around the end of the stem several times, leaving a length of wire free at the end.



When enough material has been prepared the fun starts - wiring it all on to the rope! You begin working from each end into the middle (previously marked with wire). This is done by holding 2 sprigs of the same type of foliage on either side of the rope and using another spool of wire, starting with a hooked end as before, wrapping the wire tightly around the ends of the sprigs and the rope. When the first two are secured 2 more different sprigs, this time on top and the bottom of the rope are added and wired in securely.


This is continued, alternating from top and bottom to the opposite sides of the rope. The wires from the sprigs are worked in by twisting them around the rope as you go, securing them in as work progresses, repeating until the stems from each end meet in the middle of the rope.




For the next stage we decided that it was easier hanging the garland in place, securing it with wires onto hooks and nails around the door frame before adding the finishing touches. These were sprays of larch cones prepared with the wires on each end and alder cones, wired in the same way as the foliage sprigs and sprayed with copper coloured spray paint and allowed to dry before being wired into the garland.


The garland is then completed by wiring in a group of fir cones in to the centre to hide the join and add to the festive look. It also smells wonderful too.


Hope this has given you some ideas for your own decorations…

Catherine Norman


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on 07 Dec 2009 at 05:12 PM

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on 07 Dec 2009 at 06:14 PM

laurieuk said:

Your pictures of making garlands take me back rather a long way.Back in the 50s I was in private service on an estate in Staffordshire and at Christmas the whole hall, staircase and balconies were all decorated with garlands,The whole of the woodwork for the main staircase was covered with evergreen and looked like a hedge.Wish I had photo records but times were different then.

on 08 Dec 2009 at 08:06 PM

Foxnfirefly said:

Wonderful demo!! I've always wanted to make Christmas swags and garlands from natural materials.  Finding all of the perfect materials is another job, though...

on 10 Dec 2009 at 03:09 AM