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As the holiday season approaches, look no further than your garden for the gift of simple yet beautiful decorative displays.
A great use for your winter prunings is to arrange bare or lichen-covered twigs in a tall glass vase and scallop with candle holders or use lengths of ivy and evergreen twisted into garlands to curl along. winding chimneys or round ramps.
Sprigs of leaves and aromatic herbs – bay leaf, rosemary, sage, thyme and anything else you can get your hands on – arranged around a large candle on a deep fluted dish make a fragrant table centerpiece.
If you can’t get your Christmas greenery from your own backyard, garden centers will have everything you need.
Small, living Christmas trees can be purchased in children’s jars, so they can be brought indoors each year for the festivities and part of your Christmas tradition.
Alternatively, you can create your own permanent Christmas decoration in the garden. Buy a larger living Christmas tree and plant it in a good position for future growth. You must plant it no later than the beginning of January.
In the heart of winter, the tranquil charm of plants with brightly colored bark takes on its full meaning. The colors of the stems and the textures of the trees and shrubs catch the eye and light up the winter gloom.
By planting, for example, dogwoods, snakebark maples, willows and whitewashed brambles, you can create a stunning wintery effect in any garden or landscape.
Most winter stems are best planted in groups to maximize their impact and in places where they can be seen and enjoyed. They work well in full sun and in deep, moist loamy soil, so try to avoid shallow, chalky soils.
The dogwood and willow shrubs will need to be pruned annually in March, almost to ground level, to ensure that a new crop of the most vividly colored stems is produced the following winter.
December is definitely a time to catch up on indoor gardening work and rest, but for those on the go, the Royal Horticultural Society has a few tips:
- Continue to harvest winter crops such as parsnips, kale, leeks, and sprouts. Remember to pick the sprouts from the bottom of the stem upwards.
- Collect empty plant pots and seed boxes and wash them for the next year, along with garden tools.
- Collect the rest of the fallen leaves from the trees to compost them as leaf mold.
- Pack early by covering all large outdoor containers with bubble wrap, fleece, or burlap to prevent the jars from cracking in freezing weather.
- Don’t be too much of a tidy gardener – leave seed heads and berries on plants for animals and birds to eat.
- Provide clean water for wildlife to drink.
Colorful stems can brighten up winter gloom. no_a48_DecemberGardening01