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How to craft a natural Christmas display

Given my recent post on sustainability at Christmas I wanted to see if I could create a natural Christmas display for my mantelpiece. I had never created a floral arrangement before but I was eager to try. I wanted to just use locally sourced natural foliage.

Gather your greenery

I asked my Dad to contribute some greenery from his garden and this was the haul he brought me. He gave me plenty to work with: tall grasses, rosemary, pampas grass, fir and another green bush (I’ll ask him what it’s called, or feel free to let me know in the comments).

Foliage for the display from @styleatno5

Raid your garden for natural foliage

I also raided my own garden for fresh, seasonal foliage and I cut some ivy and leaves from the evergreen Arborvitae tree. Luckily I had already dried some orange rounds for Christmas decorations and I had a collection of pine cones.

Greenery in the back garden of @styleatno5 for the natural Christmas display - ivy and Arborvitae

I especially liked the buds on the ivy growing over our back wall. They are gorgeous shades of green, brown and yellow so I cut some of these to incorporate them into the display.

Greenery from the garden for the arrangement - ivy buds

Soak your oasis

I soaked two rectangular pieces of Oasis, sourced from a nursery Busy Bee Garden Centre here in Limerick.

Oasis foam for the display

I also had a black base for them to sit in. Water will leak out of the oasis so you need it to sit in something waterproof. Unfortunately regular oasis is not biodegradable. I have looked into it and you can get biodegradable oasis foam from here.

Oasis foam for the  display

Lay out all your greenery

Next I laid everything out on the floor in the Sitting Room where I wanted to create the display. Be warned you are going to have a bit of sweeping up to do when you are finished.

Greenery laid out on the Sitting Room floor for the natural Christmas display from @styleatno5

Decide on the overall look for your natural Christmas display

My initial plan was to put one oasis at each end of the mantelpiece. I began by adding evergreen leaves around the base of the display and up the sides, so that they hung over the edge of the mantelpiece. Then I added the taller plants at the back, the long grass stems and the longer cuttings of the rosemary and greenery. I liked that the grasses were long and fanned out over the side of the display.

I kept filling in the gaps so that you couldn’t see any of the oasis.

some greenery added from @styleatno5

Step back to view your display

A good tip is to keep stepping back from the display to see what it looks like from a distance.

When you add the greenery cut the stems at an angle. Stick them right into the oasis as far as they will go.

Start of the Natural Christmas display from @styleatno5

When I looked at the display from the doorway I didn’t like that the two arrangements were separate with a gap in the middle of the mantelpiece.

Natural Christmas display as two separate pieces on either end of the mantelpiece from @styleatno5

Move the display before it is fully finished

I decided to move the two pieces of oasis together and create one large, central display rather than two arrangements on either end. I felt it would look better and be easier to finish.

Half finished display with some more greenery needed from @styleatno5

Because it was now one arrangement instead of two it was simpler to get the shape I wanted. I kept adding fir, ivy, ivy buds, rosemary, Arborvitae leaves and greenery until it was filled up. I kept the higher pieces at the back and the shorter ones at the front.

Add the finishing touches to your natural Christmas display

Finally I added pine cones. I just sat them on top of the display but if you are going to move your display you would need to secure them to the oasis using florist wire.

The Natural Christmas display without the orange rounds from @styleatno5

When I stepped back from the display I felt it was a little dull. I didn’t want to add lights or any flowers to brighten it up so I added my dried orange rounds. Again I just placed them around the display. If you are planning on moving your display you would need to secure them to the oasis.

The finished natural Christmas display from @styleatno5

And that was it, one natural Christmas display using foliage from the garden. It took a few hours to do with breaks for food and picking up the kids from school but I really enjoyed it. I’m hoping it lasts all the way through Christmas.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve any tips on creating natural displays or if you are going to create your own this Christmas.

Natural Christmas display, finished display on the mantelpiece from @styleatno5
Pinterest pin for Christmas Mantel display

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