Try these simple ideas for traditional, stunning and stylish displays
This window will shout ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’ to all your neighbours! Start by arranging taller pine tree twigs at the back of your windowbox and shorter fir twigs in the front. Then fill in the gaps with pine and fir, spacing barberry, holly or rose hip stems to add some colour. Make sure you remove the leaves from the stems as they’ll wilt quickly. Load your arrangement with bold, three-dimensional snowflakes, silver and golden Christmas balls or other seasonal decorations.
The traditional deep-red poinsettias contrast wonderfully with bright snow-white cyclamen. Plant them in a loam-based compost with some added bark for better drainage. When you plant the cyclamen, take care that the tops of the tubers are just above soil level and firm in all plants to prevent water pockets. Silver, spray-painted pine cones add to the festive feel, and add some tea lights to draw attention to your creation even more. Position the container in a bright spot with indirect light, not cooler than around 15C (59F) as poinsettias hate chilly drafts on a cold windowsill at night. Keep them moist, but not too wet, and mist the foliage to extend the flowering period. Apply a balanced liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
Just place some fir branches with cones in a wooden windowbox to create a rustic box. Use some taller, upright branches for the back and smaller sized ones for the front. Holly, barberry or rose hip stems scattered in between give you a festive splash of colour. You could pep up your display using Christmas lights, Christmas baubles or other ornaments, or you could just leave it nice and simple to keep the natural touch – it’s up to you!
Make a Christmas Tree box out of Miniature potted conifers, with their cute, traditional look and fresh fragrance, spread festive spirit. With a little care, they’ll be happy in your windowbox. A lollipop-style conifer grafted up to around 20-30cm (8-12in) in a ball shape would be ideal for this display. Plant in half soil/half ericaceous compost with grit to improve drainage. Keep them outside as they don’t cope well with hot, dry conditions indoors. Don’t let them dry out but don’t let them sit in wet compost either. Choose a small wooden or terracotta pot to restrict their root growth.
Evergreens have been used to decorate homes over the Christmas festivities for a long time and as well as holly, ivy and the essential tree, we love having bright flowers in the home as a reminder that spring isn’t far away.
There’s a bit of a myth that festive houseplants are tricky to grow and don’t last very long. But by choosing the right plant, you can have flowers right up to and beyond Christmas day with just a little bit of TLC. Cyclamen have always been a favourite in our homes, perhaps because they tolerate lower temperatures than poinsettias, which are the number one in America. But although there are some amazing artificial poinsettias available these days, there’s nothing quite like a real plant. Most houseplants will last longer if they’re kept cooler, around 15C to 18C (60-65F), although poinsettias prefer it a little warmer, more like 18C to 21C (65-70F). The biggest problem in our homes now is the heat. It’s good for us, but not our plants!
Keep your houseplants away from radiators or open fires. At the other extreme, most don’t like the cold. Houseplants look lovely displayed on the windowsill, but once you draw the curtains at night, they can get very cold. Keep an eye on watering at this time of year, too. Always water with tepid water, not straight from the tap, and pour away excess in the saucer, just as with any other houseplant.
Available in a wide range of colours, including pink and cream, but red poinsettias are still a firm favourite.
How to grow: When buying, insist on them being wrapped to protect them from the cold when going outside. Never buy poinsettias that are displayed outside in cold weather or have been rained on, which will damage the bracts. Once home, poinsettias prefer a warm spot away from draughts. Keep them evenly moist if possible and on the dry side if in doubt.
After care: With care, your plant should last well into the new year although it may drop lower leaves. In spring, you can prune it hard, similar to how you would prune a rose, repot and grow it on for next year.
Tip: Always water with some cool water from the kettle, which will be lime-free and tepid.
With bright flowers and delicious scent, these easily-grown bulbs are Christmas favourites and make inexpensive, welcome gifts.
How to grow: Keep hyacinths in a cool room. They’re ideal for windowsills because chilly nights won’t harm them. In warm, stuffy rooms the flowers will not last long and the stems will flop. Keep them moist at all times.
After care: After flowering, the whole pot can be placed outside in a sheltered place and the bulbs planted out while still growing, in a sunny spot. They’ll bloom the following year if they’re allowed to die down naturally.
Tip: Don’t let them dry out or the petal tips can turn green and flowering time will be reduced.
Decorate your front door with this fabulous and fresh Christmas Wreath. Follow our step-by-step guide to get you started, but don't forget you can choose the greenery you like best such as traditional fir, spruce or pine, shiny red berries of holly or hawthorn, scented bay or mistletoe as well as seasonal embellishments such as dried seed heads and rose hips.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Thuja twigs, Rose hips, Wire for base, Floristry wire, Pliers, Hot glue gun, Christmas balls, Ribbon, Floral tape, Scissors
STEP BY STEP:
- Cut the wire to the right size with pliers and make a simple frame bending the wire into a loop. Cover it with floral tape.
- Assemble small pieces of thuja and rose hips around your frame and wrap the floral wire tightly around the stems. Secure the wire under the frame and cut it.
- With a hot glue gun, stick the small Christmas balls on. Cut small pieces of ribbon, tie it into bows and stick them on to.