As we all know, December can be a quiet month out in the garden. With limited daylight hours as we approach the shortest day of the year, this month’s crisp wintry weather can be strikingly beautiful and bitterly cold in equal measure.

So, with only three weeks to go until the big day, I have to confess to not have done too much in the garden here at Driftwood. The weather has really changed and it is quite cold outside. Inside however, you could, like me, start to prepare some Christmas decorations, perhaps even using natural things from your garden. Many years ago, as a child, I used to decorate my parents’ pub in Oxfordshire. A key part of the decorations was the holly and the ivy gathered from the garden. Look for really decorative sprigs, rich with berries and then spray the remainder, some with gold and some with silver paint. Once dry, you can arrange them behind pictures or in vases and hang a few baubles and tinsel from them.

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Believe me it is a relatively cheap way to decorate your rooms for the festive period. Ivy has always been a popular item from the garden to decorate at Christmas. Its distinctively-shaped, rich green leaves are often a key component of floral wreaths and other festive decorations. Not only that, but ivy leaves are also said to represent the shape of Christ’s crown of thorns. Here’s an idea I came across a few years ago, not one I’ve tried as yet to be honest. Rosemary is also commonly used in Christmas displays and decorations. In fact, it’s been used during the festive season since as far back as the 16th century. Maybe give it a go this year.

Looking good in my garden this week are several ferns, they are such low maintenance too. I’ve got about 20 dotted around the area, some in the ground and some in containers. Ferns are mainly appreciated for their foliage. Many are evergreens, which makes them excellent features, especially at this time of year. They are often used to fill spaces in borders, flower beds and placed under trees, with many loving the shade. I choose to trim some of mine in the autumn, ready for new growth in the spring, but many continue to create much interest in the garden throughout the winter and are left alone. If you are under the impression all ferns look the same, think again. Check them out online and see the wide variety available, for both the garden and indoors. You will be amazed by the variety of colour, shapes, leaf shape and size.

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