Decorate and Celebrate
Delia’s favourite florist Paula Pryke shows how to use natural ingredients to make your home look as scrumptious as your food this year.
The tradition of decorating our houses with evergreen at Christmas can be traced back to the Roman feast of Satunallia (in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture), as well as the Norse celebration of the winter solstice, commonly known as yuletide. This is undoubtedly one of the few times in the year when we all feel we can go to town, using plants and greenery to beautify our homes and create a traditional, subtly nostalgic atmosphere. Follow these simple instructions to help make your home especially welcoming for family and guests.
Make your own wreath
It’s incredibly satisfying to create a festive wreath, which can be fashioned from any kind of evergreen, though blue spruce is a good choice because it lasts well. Holly also looks beautiful, but try to find a variety without spiky leaves because they can be difficult to work with.
You will need:
Reel of heavy wire
12 inch (30 cm) wreath frame
Bag of sphagnum moss
Selection of foliage, such as blue spruce, holly, trailing and berried ivy, eucalyptus, viburnum and rosemary
1 year (90cm) cream , wire-edged, silk ribbon, cut into lengths: 30 in (75cm) and 6 in (15cm)
1. Attach one end of the reel of wire to the inner ring of the frame, then tease out a piece of moss and lay it on the frame. Wind the wire round the moss to bind it to the frame. Continue in this way, making sure the moss is an even texture and density as you work round the circle.
2. Once the wreath is covered, snip off the wire and secure, then use the scissors to trim off any stray moss so that the frame is neat. Now soak the frame in cold water for 10 minutes so that there is plenty of moisture retained in the moss to keep the foliage alive.
3. Divide the foliage into mixed bunches and trim them to about 3 in(7.5cm) in length. Attach them to the wreath by tucking them through the wire used to bind the moss to the frame, then use extra wire to secure them. Work round the wreath until it’s completely covered.
4. Take the 30 in (75cm) length of ribbon and make three loops. Scrunch and hold the middle with your thumb and first finger. Pinch the 6 in(15cm) piece in the centre so that it’s half its original width, then wrap it round the loops and tie in a knot at the back – you may need help to do this.
5. Twist a length of heavy wire to make a giant hairpin and push it through the middle of the bow. Tightly twist the wire and use it to anchor the bow at the bottom of the wreath. Finally, hang the wreath from the door.
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