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There is more to Christmas than Holly

Whether December is mild and wet or freezing cold it is a month when not much time is spent in the garden. So prepare to bring the garden indoors as you decorate for Christmas. There are plenty of evergreens to choose from to supplement the traditional holly, ivy and conifer foliage.

Foliage Christmas garland

 

The berries in this garland are from a Skimmia, unlike holly they grow in a cluster on the end of a straight stem above the leaves.  Here are some more of my favourites:

Olive: very little grey foliage survives into December so Olive sprigs are especially useful.

Bergenia: huge glossy green leaves add ‘wow’ to a wreath or garland. They make a great background for red berries.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb: my favourite purple leaved shrub, tight clusters of evergreen leaves and exceptionally dark.

Hellebore: usually grown for spring flowers but has a great leaf shape and nice long stems for a vase.

Ferns: a wide range of sizes and shapes, they are not evergreen but most survive until Christmas.

Mahonia: may be in flower for Christmas and has large multi-part spiky leaves – like flat holly but so much easier to use

Box: densely packed tiny leaves, great as a filler in a garland, some forms are slightly variegated. Elaeagnus: long straight stems make it great for cutting and several varieties have bright yellow splashes on the leaves.

Camellia: some species flower for Christmas, others provide deepest green, glossy leaves.

Finally Choisya foliage with its lovely smell, Eucalyptus for silver and blue colour schemes and Fatsia for its huge hand-shaped leaves.