If you love Christmas, one of its many joys can be in the preparation. Taking a couple of hours out of all the hustle and bustle to make natural Christmas flower arrangements is worth the effort as it will not only give you a sense of satisfaction, but will fill your home with wonderful natural aromas that a fake display can’t replicate. The following ten tips will show you how.
Setting the scene for an evening of natural Christmas flower arranging
I was pleased to be invited along to a festive flower arranging evening with community gardening friends and shown how to make Christmas flower arrangements by Helen Leidig, who’s home is beautifully decorated with Christmas themed, natural floral art.
Before I share some of Helen’s tips, picture the scene…. A cozy log fire, cinnamon scent and soft music in the background, a glass of welcoming hot port and cheese and crackers to feed anyone feeling peckish. Tables and chairs are piled with leaves and seed heads, baubles and twigs, the majority of which have been cut fresh from gardens during the day. As we begin our work, concentration fills our faces as we try a leaf here, discard a twig there until our creations are complete. Then the ooh’s and aah’s fill the room as we take a look at how others have used the same materials in completely different ways. There are certainly worse ways to spend a winter’s evening!
Although I make a Christmas door wreath every year (here’s a blog post showing you how to make your own door wreath if you’d like to have a go), the photos in this post show my first attempt at an oasis filled decoration.
How to make a natural Christmas flower arrangement
Two oasis blocks
A narrow tray to rest the oasis in
Glue gun if you have one
Seasonal greenery and seed heads from the garden. We used Viburnum, Box, Laurel, Bay, Spruce, Aucuba, Hydrangea, Allium, Agapanthus, Twisted Hazel, Dogwood and Euphorbia among others.
Bling! Baubles and ribbons, candles and bows
Wooden kebab sticks and or candle holders
1. Wrap some tape around the oasis, securing it to the tray (this will prevent it tipping over) Then soak in a tub overnight, allowing the oasis to soak up the water naturally.
2. Take a deep breath and begin!
The aim is to arrange the flowers and leaves so that they seem as if they’re growing naturally in a garden. Imagine where shrubs and flowers are mixed rather than planted in uniform rows. Start inserting leaves into the oasis at the ends and front of the tray, adding pine or spruce so that it spills out of the display. Use individual leaves and not clumps as they can be carefully arranged to positions you want them in.
3. Think texture, shape and pattern and try not to use more than four different types of leaves as you begin to build the base.
4. Then begin to fill in the top of the oasis. You need some height but avoid placing tall twigs or flowers in the middle. Either place them at both ends or on one side, leaving the middle for a candle if you’re using one.
5. Once you have the base leaves in place, continue to add groups of dried or fresh flowers and build up your display. You don’t have to pack every piece of the oasis. Any remaining gaps can be filled with moss to hide it.
6. Fir cones can be wired by discretely wrapping some florists wire between the cones then add them to the display.
7. If you have one, use a glue gun to attach the kebab sticks to the baubles. Remove the tree hangers that will be fixed to them, then place a blob of glue in the opening before popping a large stick into it. I found the baubles will rest directly onto the sticks without the glue gun (I don’t have one) as long as they’re angled correctly and a small piece of bluetack will work too.
8. If you’re adding candles to floral displays, wire them to a candle holder or tape the base of them to kebab sticks first before arranging on the oasis to prevent them falling over and potentially causing a fire!
9. Finally add ribbon or subtle lights to your display then stand back and relax. Strongly resist the urge to pull everything out and start again, remember, this might be your first display and they can only get better!
10. Keep an eye on the oasis and make sure it doesn’t dry out, watering it carefully as and when it needs it.
Creating our own displays every year, whether it’s a simple door wreath, a table centrepiece or a window display can become a Christmas tradition. For many of us, time might have to be set aside to make them but once you begin, you might find it slows you down, helps you to unwind for a couple of hours and will allow you a bit of creative indulgence among the madness.
Do you make your own decorations or will you have a go this year for the first time?