Hints & Tips
As Christmas approaches and the cold weather closes in, there remains little for gardeners to do but sit back, relax and plan for the year ahead.
The festive season sees nature come indoors, as people decorate their homes with Christmas trees and wreaths.
At a time when everyone is thinking about buying Christmas presents and stocking up on food, a great way to save money is to make your own wreath. It's also an ideal chance to add a personal touch to your decorations.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Monty Don suggests sourcing material for Christmas wreaths from your garden.
Holly, laurel, ivy, rosemary, larch and fir are all ideal materials for making a wreath. Fruits, fir cones, seed pods or nuts can also be used.
Don recommends using holly and ivy to make a simple wreath for your door.
Wreath frames are available from garden centres, although a strong wire framework will do the job – materials can be bound into the frame using twine.
A larger wreath can be made using chicken wire as a base and adding moss using florists' wire before decorating it with materials from the garden. Bend the wire up through the circle and bind the materials in using twine.
Don suggests a wide range of garden materials that can be used to decorate a wreath: fir cones, walnuts, clematis seed heads, artichokes, rose hips, apples and ivy flowers. For people who want to experiment, imaginative variations on the traditional Christmas wreath format can be made using the contents of the greenhouse (or the local greengrocer – chillies, oranges and lemons can be added).
Once your new wreath is in place, there are plenty of other tasks to be getting on with if you want to keep busy. Clean old pots and seed trays, soaking them in disinfectant to kill off any old spores.
You might also want to give yourself a headstart for 2014 by browsing next year's seed catalogues.
And don't forget to feed the birds – spread some festive cheer by giving them peanuts and over-ripe apples and raisins.