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Be inspired by your garden this festive season

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Monday, 25th November 2019, 09:00

As we get closer to the big day, make sure your garden doesn’t look like ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ this year!

I know it gets dark early and sometimes the weather is not conducive to being outside for long, but it is nice to look out and see something a bit cheerful. You can dress up your garden for the festive season by putting outdoor fairy lights in trees, which can be seen from the house, and hanging homemade wreaths in prominent places.

Don’t forget the birds either – tie up a tasty fat ball or seed feeder to keep them happy through the colder months (remember to take off any netting).

Turn to nature for your Christmas decorations

Dress the house with stems from the garden, using the bare twisted branches of cork-screw hazel or willow for a vase. Use the red or yellow stems of Cornus (dogwood) or Salix (willow), which can be used inside or, alternatively, pushed into pots outside to add height to flowering displays. The RHS do this in their gardens and it looks very effective.

The long rope-like stems of clematis can be used to fashion a front door wreath. Use florist wire to add sprigs of holly or other items like dried Hydrangea heads, cones, etc. Add a tartan bow and there you have it – much nicer than those you can buy from the shop, and cheaper!

Gifts for gardeners

If you have a gardener for whom you wish to buy a gift, a book is always welcomed. Some books I have really enjoyed and found useful include the RHS ‘Propagating Plants’ by Alan Toogood – easy to read and lovely clear illustrations on how to get plants for nothing – and ‘The Well-Tended Perennial Garden’ by Tracy Disabato-Aust – also very informative with plenty of advice and tips.

If you’re trying to think of stocking fillers for the gardener in your life, labels and twine always come in handy.

Look after houseplants

Check all houseplants regularly as the light levels reduce. Some might have to be moved to somewhere a little brighter, especially those with variegated leaves.

Houseplants don’t like fluctuations in temperature, so keep them away from radiators and fires (not easy in a small house) and away from windows where the night-time temperature can fall dramatically. They do like being grouped together as they make a microclimate to benefit each other.

Now is a good time to plant new rhubarb (now there is a gift idea for the person who has everything!) and to divide large clumps. Replant in enriched soil and wait for the plant to take off in spring.

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