By Rebecca Lovatt – My English Country Cottage
Flowers and LIfestyle’s Style by Margot’s Karen creating more green magic with a chair swag!
One of the joys of decorating at Christmas is being able to plunder the garden and hedgerows for fabulous foliage to drag inside, throw liberally at almost anything and inhale the fresh scent…as you remove the accompanying little creatures. This year my theme appears to be ladybirds! There are so many ladybirds! Ah well – at least they are a festive colour.
I adore decorating for Christmas, it gives me licence to be more flamboyant, to add sparkle and glamour and even a touch of bling here and there that would ordinarily look a little out of place in a crumbly rural cottage. The foliage gives a fantastic base to either remain minimally rustic: ivy strewn over paintings and mirrors, bare garlands with perhaps some warm lights and a sprinkling of fir cones, maybe a flash of berry; or to go all out and use the greenery as a base to fill with flowers and sparkle, with snowberries, garlands of bright red berries, holly and old man’s beard.
I always buy trees that are too tall so the offcuts (from a mumbling grumbling husband) are the perfect place to start.
I start with two fake garlands over La Aga, one just plain green and the other with berries and fir cones already attached and intertwine them to give a lovely thick base.
Next I add the twinkly lights – I love warm lights as it gives such a cosy glow – then use the tree offcuts and slip them into the fake garland – no need for wire as the branches in the garland are wired so you can wrap them around the additions to keep them snug. The fresh branches also help to hide the wire of the lights.
I then add in branches of Lawson Cypress which smells fabulous and has gorgeous little cones on it to add to the beautiful scent of the nordmann fir branches. I weave in berried ivy for a splash of colour and interest then add a mix of fake and real berries and rosehips, large fir cones and foraged teasels which give depth and texture and a gorgeous rustic charm.
I create garlands for both kitchen dressers with the remaining offcuts (yes – the tree is always way too tall) by taking the branches and wiring them in the centre to bind them together then laying more on top to give a lovely strong base. These get draped over the dressers and then I add in the Lawson Cypress and Ivy and Fairy lights. Each year I seem to add a little extra. Last year I used all the garden flowers that I had dried over the year to add rustic colour and a nod of floral glamour.
I add vintage baubles to our more formal dresser and a huge mercuried bauble to reflect the sparkly light.
Garlands across the table and a big fat Norway Spruce complete the greenery in the kitchen – apart from maybe a little bowl of Hyacinths and perhaps some beautiful gifted winter blooms (from myself)!
The Sitting Room is lucky enough to receive even more greenery. I create another garland across the fireplace in the same method as the kitchen garlands but adding more red berries for cosiness and rustic fir cones for texture.
A longer garland is created for the piano. This is where we all stand during our Christmas Carols party so it needs to look glamorous! I use Lawson Cypress branches wired together across the piano. I start with two branches in the middle and then work outwards, slotting each new branch in to the existing branch and wiring for security.
I mix real candles in pillars and in tea-lights so that they are safe and then fake candles that are closer to the greenery – sometimes the Carols get a little raucous(!). I have just discovered the amazing Candled who make the most beautiful LED Candles from real wax so they are safe but look beautiful.
Obviously I throw ivy at every painting in the room but I also like to wind it over the top of the bookcase and add pretty fairy lights to give a beautiful glow, it just makes the space a little more magical.
Photo credit: Robert Sanderson for The English Home magazine.
Even the bedrooms don’t get forgotten in my quest to drag all greenery inside: