Turning Garden Twigs into Christmas Decorations

As a few of you know, I talk on the radio once a fortnight, chatting about what I’m doing in my vegetable and cut flower plot. This week, I tried valiantly to make a few twigs from my garden sound exciting. It really tested my powers of description! Anyway, if you were listening in, here are the photos to go with my interview with Ben Jackson. I was waving my arms around, explaining how you can gather foliage and off-cuts from the garden, make them into a twiggy bouquets, add lights, and plunge them in a pot. I do hope it enthused a few people to have a go and make their own Christmas decorations.

Willow stems, dried oak twigs, pine foliage and Hydrangea Annabelle flower heads with orange lanterns, Physalis alkekengi.

I decorated the hydrangea heads with some florists’ silver spray from Oasis. You only need a tiny amount.

Some old man’s beard, wild clematis vitalba adds a fluffy texture and movement to the arrangement.

Mouldable copper wire fairy lights from supermarkets only costs a few pounds. Mine came from Wilkos and use rechargeable batteries.

Tiny flowers from the hydrangea heads flutter down around me. I scoop them up and use them as table decorations. They are like nature’s confetti.

Wire lights can be threaded through dogwood stems and any greenery from the garden. This ‘bouquet’ of twigs is pushed into a plant pot of garden soil and stood by the front door. It looks like a container full of expensive plants, but in truth, it has cost me nothing. Stems will stay fresh until after Christmas due to cold and wet weather. They can be composted in the new year. So there’s no waste to go into bins.

I’ve used pine, spare Christmas tree stems (the tree was too tall), ivy, dogwood and willow to give height, and skimmia at the front. You could pop some hellebores and white heather either side to cover the base of the pot. If you have plastic pots, why not cover them with hessian to give them a natural look.

Here’s some more ideas using willow. Wind the willow or dogwood into a rough circle and keep adding more stems. Eventually you can pull it into shape and secure it with thin lengths of willow. Kept dry in the shed, wreaths will last for years. Each Christmas, I add new foliage, pine and rosemary for scent, rosy-hued hydrangea heads and clematis seeds. These are simply fed in amongst the willow stems and secured with string or florists’ reel wire.

You can add rosehips and crab apples to the willow frame. Birds tend to enjoy them, so I have to replenish the decorations every day. We were very excited to see some very small birds, possibly long-tailed tits enjoying the clematis seeds. It becomes almost a cross between a Christmas decoration and a bird feeder.

Add whatever you can find in the garden and hedgerow. In this silver birch wreath, I’ve added ivy, with green and black ivy berries, and dried cow parsley seed heads. The wind sometimes blows the clematis across the back fields, but there’s plenty more in the potting shed, ready for the festive season.

These willow stems have been folded over to form a heart. Hold ten stems in one hand. Bend half of them over and tie in the middle. Bend the other half over to form the other side of the heart, and tie in. Tie further up the stems to keep the heart shape secure. Disguise the ties -or the mechanics, as we call them- with a mini bouquet of foliage. Here I’ve used Holly, ivy, Garrya elliptica, hydrangea flowers and a few crab apples.

Willow wreaths don’t always need any decorations at all. A pretty ribbon is all that’s used on this wreath for a simple shepherd’s hut.

I decorate five bar gates around the plot. A single heart is often all that’s needed. It will cheer any Christmas Day revellers, walking along the lane. From this gate we can hear the church bells ringing. The sound carries far across the fields. It’s a wonderful spot to stand and listen for a few moments, mug of tea in hand.

Let me know what decorations you are putting up in your house and garden this year. Will it be old favourites, like mine, or something new? Get in touch and let me know, and thanks, as ever, for reading. Today, I’m celebrating my milestone 100,000 blog visitors. When I started writing, I thought just a handful of people might see my posts. I’m absolutely thrilled to see 100,000 have read about my little plot. Have a great weekend everyone.

Links:

Listen to Radio Leicester, Christmas decorations, at 3.16.57 on the timeline on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08ymt0t

I learned how to make my wreaths at Common Farm Flowers with Georgie Newbery. Georgie is running online courses and sells wreath -making kits.

https://www.commonfarmflowers.com/collections/workshops

I wrote about Georgie’s courses here: https://bramblegarden.com/2020/07/01/online-hand-tie-posy-course-with-georgie-newbery/

There’s also lots of Christmas recipes on the blog. Just scroll down to view them.

40 thoughts on “Turning Garden Twigs into Christmas Decorations

    • Thank you. Most florists shops sell the spray nowadays. So do many supermarkets. Isn’t it incredible how we can all keep in touch like this. Thanks for reading and for getting in touch πŸ™‚

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    • Oh dear! My husband is always doing that! He’s not allowed to do the pruning now. He’s just eaten the chocolate I was saving for the florentines as well….so he’s in trouble here. Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you Derrick. Old favourites for me too. Wonderful watching the children create their first Christmas trees. They have a lot of our old family decorations- plus their own new look. Have a great weekend. And thanks for your kind comments. Much appreciated

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  1. Lovely Karen! Congratulations on inspiring us with such a rnage of free and inexpensive materials.
    Love the silver hydrangea petals.

    Congratulations on your 100,000 blog post readers. Great stuff!

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  2. Karen what a wonder, what a divine twig pot with fairy lights in a pot, they are magnificent, I love them. A lovely Christmas ornament !! And only with what you can gather in your garden: pine foliage, willow stalks, dried oak twigs, Hydrangea Anabellle flower heads, orange lanterns, old man’s beard and wild clematis vitalbe – I love them like fairy lights. I imagine you on the radio explaining how to do it and waving your hands: a lovely Karen. The small hydrangea flowers on the table must be very special: magical. I love the pot with dogwood and Christmas tree stems, pine, ivy, willow and skimmia with fairy lights. I love your two Christmas wreaths, they are magnificent, divine, wonderful, charming. Karen I love the materials you have used and one of them serves as a bird feeder: I am very happy that you saw birds eating clematis seeds. I love the heart of willow stems; Accompanied by holly, ivy, Garrya elliptica, hydrangea flowers and crab apples, I love it, it is fabulous. I love the willow wreath with a ribbon. 5 bars to decorate: this one where you can hear the church bells with that heart is a magical place with a very hot tea. Karen CONGRATULATIONS on your 100,000 blog visitors !!! You deserve it!!!! Karen I will go to the forest to collect things from the ground and make a small arrangement for the table and another for the terrace. Health, strength, encouragement, positive thinking, hope and much love for your whole family, Mr B and for you. Happy advent Much love and hugs. Keep everyone safe. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx πŸ˜˜πŸ˜˜πŸ’ŸπŸ’ŸπŸ€—πŸ™πŸŽ„πŸŽ†πŸŽ†βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨πŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸ₯°

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    • Oh that will be wonderful. Share your photos when you have made them. And enjoy the process of collecting material and making something from nature. It did me good to wander along the hedgerows collecting rosehips and ivy. Meg and Monty accompanied me. Grace is too much of a lady ( and elderly) to scramble through the hedgerows. Have a lovely weekend. Lots of love. Karen xxx

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      • Karen Monty and Meg had just as much fun as you digging through the hedges while collecting rosehips, ivy, and more. Give Grace, who is older, a very loving caress from me. I will go to the forest when they do not define the health area in which I live, which is confined until December 13 and can be extended if the large number of Covid cases that there were per 1,000 inhabitants have not decreased. I hope they don’t confine us again for another 14 days. If I can go to the forest, I will make some arrangements for the first time and no matter how bad they come out I’ll make a blog with them, because they will be made with great enthusiasm and affection and they deserve to be photographed and published no matter how bad they are, and you will be the first in knowing: word of friend. Much love and hugs to all. Happy weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

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      • Keeping my fingers and everything crossed for you Margarita. Looking forward to seeing your twig and foliage bouquets. Anything from nature looks beautiful. It can’t help but look amazing. Enjoy your weekend. Love and hugs from us all xxxx πŸ’πŸŽ„πŸ‘βœ¨βœ¨βœ¨

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      • Karen thank you very much. You are right Nature is always wonderful and it looks very beautiful. Much love and hugs. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx πŸŽ„πŸ’ŸπŸ˜˜βœ¨βœ¨πŸŒΏπŸ€πŸŒ³πŸπŸ‚πŸƒπŸŒΌπŸŒΌπŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸ™πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

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      • Monty is very playful, he is a very nice and funny puppy. When he is older he will be good. But now Karen you have a great time with him even if he takes your leaves off when you sweep !! Loving caresses for Grace, Meg and Monty from me. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx πŸ˜˜πŸ’ŸπŸ€—πŸ˜€πŸ€£βœ¨βœ¨πŸ‚

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  3. Your decorations all look lovely Karen and I envy your talent for making simple garden or hedgrow gatherings look so pretty and festive! I have lots of spruce and fir to do something with, but am unsure what! πŸ™„

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    • Thank you Eliza. They are so pretty and last for ages of you use rechargeable batteries. I’ve got them all over the garden, and in the greenhouse. Can’t have too many fairy lights πŸ˜€

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  4. I fell in love with your circular Willow. In fact, your circles mostly had a quiet simplicity about them which really appealed to me.

    You’ll have to keep your arrangements out of reach of Monty; all those scratch things and entanglements, he’ll think Xmas has come early. πŸ™‚ x

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    • Ha ha…. Monty is in to everything! He’s been β€˜helping’ today as I unravel some sailing rope to make a swag. I was so pleased to find it in the garage. Haven’t been able to get any rope to make my arrangements for the eaves of the summerhouse. But Monty was pulling on the other end. Have a great weekend πŸ˜ƒ xx

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