A flicker of light
Flowers and candles go hand in hand at Christmas. Make a centrepiece by placing a large pillar candle in a glass column vase or antique pot and surround it with a wreath of roses, greenery and pine cones. Don’t be too precious about placement – a wild and natural arrangement can often be more pleasing to the eye than a formal, staged display.
Bring nature inside
You don’t need petals for a festive pop of colour. Instead, weave foraged finds, such as lengths of foliage, blood-red rosehips, hawthorn berries and branches of holly around wreath rings (find beautifully simple designs at Rowen & Wren) or an embroidery hoop. For a woodland feel, add acorns and feathers. Sprigs of berries or simple greenery arranged in vintage bottles create a charming display, ideal in more rustic interiors.
Colour me beautiful
Ruby red roses, cyclamen and poinsettia are forever favourites at this time of year, but if you want to vary your colour scheme try adding purple lisianthus, blue veronica or pink amaryllis and mixed hellebores. For busy rooms, stick to a simple colour palette of cream and gold; for dark rooms, create
a riot of Christmas colour that will really pop against your paintwork. Eucalyptus and green bell foliage centrepiece, tea light holders made from fresh apples, decanter and wine bottle – all from Dottie Events & Hire.
One of the most joyous activities at this time of year is heading out into the woods to collect greenery for garlands to decorate your table, fireplace or staircase. If you love the traditional look, twist ivy, fir branches, holly and mistletoe along florist’s wire with pine cones and berries. For a more modern, earthy take, drape just one type of foliage over your mantel and let it hang organically.
Centre of attention
Vintage cake stands, antique sugar bowls and well-worn vases work beautifully on tables. Fill them with flowers but keep them low. Alternatively, lay a romantic garland of layered greenery down the centre of your table.
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Small is beautiful
Mini living trees are a delightful way to decorate a small space and can be planted in the garden come January. Place them in light and airy spots away from heat, and water weekly. Adorn with mini vintage baubles.
Use your pot plants
If you love living with houseplants, group them in varying heights for a lush wintry display. Think about how the forms of each plant work together. The thin stem of an orchid, for example, complements a leafy peace lily.
Seasonal with a twist
The more in demand or scarce a flower is, the higher the price. Rethink your traditional Christmas choices and opt for alternative blooms such as amaranthus, dahlias and spray roses in shades of violet, blush and cerise. Camellias, sarcococca, paperwhite narcissus and winter jasmine are also in flower during December. These informal displays work perfectly in contemporary or relaxed interiors. Here, holly, carnations, amaryllis, skimmia and anemones are teamed with a table informally dotted with sprays of eucalyptus and tableware in brass tones.
Enjoy them for longer
Dried flowers are having a revival, thanks to their longevity, environmental credentials and sculptural beauty. If air drying flowers yourself, hang the blooms upside down, away from sunlight to prevent colour loss and handle brittle branches with care. Ferns, bracken and other woodland flora work well, while lunaria (honesty) has an ethereal quality with its wispy, paper-thin pods. Arrangements of dried flowers will keep for many months if displayed in a cool and shaded location away from direct sunlight, fireplaces and radiators. Preserved wreaths work better for interior doors but can be used outside if protected by a porch roof.
A wreath with meaning
Have a go at hanging a wreath on a wall or door inside and, rather than accessorising with flowers, try adding an accent with antique costume jewellery brooches and mementos. This way you can give meaning to your flowers by using sentimental and heirloom pieces. Secure the brooches with mossing pins, ensuring that you arrange them before you attach them. Position the wreath on the inside of your front door or above your fireplace and hang on a hook using the most luxurious velvet or satin ribbon you can find – VV Rouleaux has a wide variety.
How to shop for flowers
Rachel Wardley, founder of the Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath shares her tips for buying Christmas flowers
The best places to buy flowers at good prices are flower markets, which offer a broad variety of blooms. The largest flower market is New Covent Garden Market in London. While it is a wholesale market, anyone can visit and the choice is immense. There may be a flower market local to you but check it is not trade-only. Arrive early to enjoy
the pick of the crop, much like antiques markets. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as stallholders tend to be happy to share their knowledge. Most traders will sell in wraps or bundles not single stems, so be prepared to buy 20 rose stems, for example. At Christmas, demand is high so it’s not advisable to haggle with small, independent or
family-run businesses. The advice and service you’ll receive will far outweigh any discount. Look to Flowers from the Farm to find a local flower farm. They won’t have many flowers at Christmas but they may have foliage and berries you can buy by the bucket. This can help you to save on costs as greenery from markets can be pricey.
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