Make a simple Christmas table decoration with plants from your garden

How to decorate your table for Christmas in just a few minutes, with a few things from the garden.
You don't need to be a florist to create a seasonal table decoration using cuttings from garden plants.
Like most people, I find there are so many things to do at this time of year that there's not much time for creating extravagant floral displays on top of everything else. And I'm no expert flower arranger either.
But it's very satisfying to create a centre piece for the dinner table, and all the more so to do it from things growing in the garden. It's convenient, simple, quick and cheap!
When the days are dark and short and we're spending more time indoors, it feels good to be able to bring a bit of the garden inside, whether it's a real Christmas tree or simply to offer plants protection for the winter.
So if you need a quick and easy way to decorate your table, try this:

A piece of wood and some tacks

I use one half of a log, about 25cm long, that we've had for years. It can be whatever size suits your table. Rather than half a log it could be a flat slice of log instead, depending on what you have or prefer. It does help if you cut it to be flat on at least one side so it rests flat on the table. Hammer in some u-shaped tacks all over it. If you want it to hold a candle, chisel out a hole for it.
Log base for Christmas table decoration Green Fingered Blog

Forage for plant cuttings in your garden

Look round your garden for evergreens, and particularly anything with berries. Of course holly and ivy are traditionally associated with Christmas, but a variety of plants are suitable.
Plant cuttings for Christmas table decoration Green Fingered Blog
Here's a list of what I used, shown above:
1. Conifer, mine is a cypress, Thuja could also be used. They smell great.
2. Pine also smells good, giving your decoration an extra dimension.
3. Sarcococca - has tiny sweet smelling flowers that are just about to open.
4. Coprosma - the dark purple foliage provides a contrast to the green.
5. Callicarpa - at this time of year, has bright purple berries on bare stems.
6. Cotoneaster - has small red berries.
7. Pine cone.
8. Teasel. 
9. Nandina has elegant slender stems and small red berries.
10. Holly. No berries on mine now. The birds probably had them already.
11. Osmanthus - this unknown variety looks like a variegated holly and is prickly.
12. Ivy.
13. Eleagnus ebbingei. Leaves are dark green on one side and silver on the other.
14. Osmanthus. This is a dark green variety which also usually has large red berries but none at the moment.

Put them together

Just have fun arranging your cuttings however you like them. My ten year old daughter did most of the work on ours. Feed each cutting through one of the tacks so that the stems are held firmly enough in place. We started by putting some long bits of conifer on the corners, then built up a base layer spreading out all around the log. 
Next was filling in the sides with contrasting foliage and some berries. Then we surrounded the candle with some holly and added enough other pieces to hide the tacks from view. The pine cones and teasels went on the top of the log around the candle. The sarcococca was tucked away underneath, being nothing dramatic to look at but in the hope that the flowers will open and fill the room with fragrance.
Christmas table decoration Green Fingered Blog
Christmas table decoration Green Fingered Blog
Not a professional flower arrangement by any means, but all from our own garden, and taking just a few minutes of fun to create. It'll make a great centre piece for the table over Christmas. Why not have a go yourself? Tweet a picture of yours and tag me @PlanPlantPrune to show me how you got on, or post a picture to the Green Fingered Blog Facebook page so we can all see it.
Good luck, have fun and merry Christmas!
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