Make this festive Christmas wreath which is contemporary in its regular appearance, yet bold in the use of materials and colours. The design is composed of a tightly grouped ring of clementines, cranberries and green leaves. There is nothing that says Christmas more than sweet clementines and cranberries! The wonderful thing about this wreath is it has a citrus smell, but can be made more aromatic by using bay leaves or other herbs instead of evergreens like ivy.
Florist ring soaked
Leaves; bay leaves, ivy, pine, skimmia
Step 1: Push florist wire through the base of each clementine from one side to the other, then face the ends down the way to create a hair pin shape. This can then be pushed and secured onto the florist foam. Remember to soak the foam ring in water prior to assembling the wreath.
Step 2: Arrange the clementines in a tight circle on the top of the ring by pushing the wire ends into the foam.
Step 3: Form an inner ring using short sections of florist wire or cocktail sticks to insert the red cranberries into the wreath.
Step 4: Evenly distribute the leaves around the wreath ensuring no foam is visible.
This wreath will look spectacular hung on a door or wall and can even be used as a table centre piece with the addition of candles. It is a heavy wreath so if you plan to hang it do ensure you fix it securely.
Once you plant one Japanese Acer in your garden you are likely to become addicted to Acers! Many gardeners can’t stop at just one. One reason for this is the staggering diversity of Acers available but it is hard to believe they have come from primarily three species; Acer japonicum, Acer shirasawanum and Acer palmatum.
In colour, size, shape and texture no other tree provides so many options. You will find dwarf, midsize and large forms. Some are vase shaped while others cascade or form a column. In some cases the leaves can be star shaped, deeply dissected or nearly round. The colour range in Japanese Acers is breathtaking ranging from purples, reds, oranges, yellows and greens. Often under appreciated are their sculptural trunks during the winter months.
Design wise they provide colour echoes as well as textural highlights when dispersed through your borders. Even a single specimen can create a stunning centrepiece in the garden. These trees are basically like a living sculpture and they are constantly changing throughout the season. Planting companions are Ginkgo biloba, Rhododendrons and Metasequoia glyptostroboides.
Even if you have a small garden you can still participate in Acer madness. They do particularly well in small containers and pots. Once in a pot your tree is then mobile and able to be moved around your garden to suit your preference.
When growing Acers make sure they are sheltered from strong winds and harsh bright sunlight to prevent the leaves becoming scorched.
This delightful deciduous shrub is known for its unusual and colourful late winter and early spring flowers. These typically appear before the foliage emerges and are arranged in pendant catkin-like racemes that hang from the branches. The foliage can turn rosy red and yellow during the Autumn season. The genus comes from the Greek word Stachys meaning an ear of corn – hence the hanging flowers appearance. Plants in this genus are sometimes commonly called spiketail also in reference to the flowers. Native to Japan it was introduced to UK cultivation in 1864. It can be grown by seed or summer cuttings taken with a heel in late July and given bottom heat. Layering is also a method – do this in summer months and the new plant should be ready to detach the following spring. It grows well in fertile soil that is free training in full sun or partial shade of a woodland. In terms of garden design it is a perfect shrub for woodland gardens or it can be effectively trained against a wall with southern exposure.
The art of Kokedama is becoming increasingly popular in the UK and is a simple and highly adaptable design concept. Kokedama is a Japanese technique that means “moss ball” – it is the art of binding plants to create string gardens and can be traced back centuries. These living plant moss balls suit any space inside or outside your home. You can experiment with this innovative plant design – they are perfect for small urban spaces, the plants can live for years and do not require repotting. To make a Kokedama you will need soil, string, a plant and moss. Firstly mould the soil round the roots of the plant – wet sandy soil works best. Then bind the soil ball with moss and secure with string keeping it tight. Select plants that are evergreen like ferns or choose seasonal plants and change the display more frequently. Then hang up with a piece of string in your desired location. Soak them once a week in a bucket of water. You can also add liquid fertiliser to the water to feed your plant. Have fun and get creative!
Ditch your boring Autumn planters this year and step up your pumpkin decoration skills. Unleash your creative flair in your house, garden and at your door. Try planting up your pumpkins with plants of all kinds. Pumpkins can be large or small and integrated with shrubs and perennials for interest. You could use all forms of grasses, mini succulents, or floral arrangements displayed within the pumpkin. Use moss or normal potting compost to support the plants in the hollowed out pumpkin. Your designs can be classic planters that are autumn inspired or have fun with Halloween influences. Ophiopogon nigrescens is a black grass which can be used and contrasts perfectly against the orange skin of the pumpkin to give that spooky effect. Once decorated the Autumn planters can be displayed indoors or outside and should last for the month of October.
Meandering through an archway of glowing yellow Laburnum flowers is a magical experience that you too can create in your own garden. This deciduous tree or small shrub puts on a wonderful show- stopping display each year during early summer. It has impressive pendulum flowers that are similar to that of Wisteria and are fragrant. It has commonly been referred to as the golden rain tree. It is a small genus that is found within the plant family Fabaceae and has trifoliate attractive foliage. However this plant produces shiny black poisonous seeds so take care when planting in areas with young children and pets. They make wonderful specimen trees or alternatively try the horticultural technique of training them over an archway or pergola to create an impressive display. It is best to select cultivars to suit your situation and some have been bred to have very long flowers. Once the main framework of your archway is created it will need little pruning. They are similar to Wisteria in that they only require spur pruning in early winter. Be careful not to create large pruning wounds as they do not heal quickly and can as a result split the tree. They can cope with poor soil but do best in well drained and fertile soil.
The world famous Laburnum Arch at Bodnant Garden is well worth visiting.