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Using Nature's Beauty at Christmas

I’ve been busy preparing for Christmas but not in the gift-buying sense. Rather, I’m starting to think about decorations and what I can use from the garden to bring the outdoors inside for the festive season.

From centrepieces full of texture for your Christmas table to foraged door wreaths, there’s plenty to be found in the garden or on country walks.

Evergreens, such as spruce and holly, are an obvious choice but do think about other plants that can add colour to handmade decorations. One of my favourites is eucalyptus, which I love for its blue tones and fragrance.

Seed heads, including alliums, poppies and teasel, should be safely gathered now and left to dry before any autumn wind or frost turns them soggy. Hang them somewhere dry, ready to use next month.

Keep an eye on berries too as hungry birds will soon strip a bush or tree. Holly is a seasonal favourite but pyracantha and sorbus will also add nature’s baubles to your display. Think about using shiny conkers, the white berries of snowberry or fir cones.

Get all important texture with lichen-coated twigs or soft moss – don’t gather this from the wild as it’s protected by law. Instead, hunt out moss in your lawn or garden borders.

The kitchen is also a source of inspiration with dried orange slices, tiny bundles of cinnamon sticks and hanging clove baubles adding colour and evocative scent.

I like to make a table decoration from bay leaves and other foliage, decorating it with seed heads, berries and other pieces from the garden. It can be softly lit with tea lights, either in the centre or set around it.

While Christmas may still be weeks away, now’s the time to start planning and making sure you have a festive season full of natural beauty.

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