Hints & Tips
People may be able to give their home a distinctive touch over the festive season by using garden tools to help prepare Christmas decorations from outdoors.
Consumer association magazine Gardening Which? has offered a variety of tips on how this can be achieved without having to resort to baubles and tinsel.
Natural garlands look more colourful than shop-bought items and can be made from suitable berries such as cotoneaster and rowan.
It was suggested these can be threaded through lengths of garden wire and hung around the house or even a tree in the garden.
"Cranberries and chillies were also recommended to be added to the finished product for variety, in addition to leaves of coniferous trees such as holly or ivy.
"If you've grown chillies on the patio or in the greenhouse these can also look fantastic in natural garlands," magazine editor Ceri Thomas remarked.
Christmas stars can be constructed with the aid of eight New Zealand flax leaves, cutting four of them short and stapling them together in the centre – covering this with a pine cone.
It is possible to make simple twig bundles from colourful stems like birch and dogwood tied together with florists' stub wire and topping off with a bow of narrow-leaved evergreen – libertia or miscanthus being cited as two examples.
"The great thing about making your own decorations from garden material is that you are bringing the garden into the home and returning to a time when things weren't about the flash or the dazzle of Christmas but more about natural ways to dress the tree," Ms Thomas commented.
This could also be a way to resolve a case of the winter blues as celebrity gardener Rachel de Thame recently emphasised the therapeutic effect gardening can have.
She explained the garden is a sanctuary for her and natural spaces can provide anyone with a chance to appreciate the world away from the pressures of everyday life.