I made the centrepiece above in about 15 minutes at a cost of almost nothing. The "ingredients" you will need are:
- Holly (ilex aquifolium)
- Ivy (hedera helix)
- Clippings from your non-drop Christmas Tree (available from us by mail order)
- Some ribbon
- A few glass/plastic decorations - we use the balls that have lost their strings...
- Dried flower heads - we scrump from the neighbours garden
- A can of silver or gold spray (your choice)
- A roll of florists wire
- 2 blocks of oasis and a long oasis tray (these and the wire are available from any florist and most garden centres. Once you have them they last for years.
The secret of the arrangement is to do it when you decorate the Christmas Tree - which tends to be late with us - the plant material stays fresh longer. Not that wilting is a real problem - nordman fir hold its needles for up to 25 years in the wild and even over a fireplace with a roaring fire it should cope with the twelve days fo christmas easily. Holly is as tough as old boots and the ivy surprises us every year by still looking good on 5th January when it all goes to the dump. (By the way, try and get both the young trailing ivy and the ivy seedheads which you can see silhouetted against the wall in the picture)
Take a piece of strong ribbon as long as you want your centrepiece to be and TIGHTLY tie the christmas tree clippings to the ribbon, bit by bit, building up a flat base the length of the ribbon. Overlay one little bit of christmas tree with another, a little like fish scales.Use florists wire to tie each piece and start from the middle of the ribbon working first to one end and then the other. This is a really sociable thing for two to do - have a race to see who gets to their end first.
Then put the oasis (whichyou have soaked) in its tray and settle it on top of/into the christmas tree base. You will stick the stems of your holly and ivy into the oasis which will keep them looking fresh right through Christmas. Do a bit of weaving and tying (with wire) to get your holly and ivy into the shape you like.
Decorate with a couple of hydrangea heads sprayed with gold or silver, add a few glass balls (and some tinsel if you like), stick a candle at each end, eat a mince pie to celebrate... and bob's your uncle.
Good luck and a very Happy Christmas to you