As florists we love the winter season and all it brings. It’s a great time for foraging & the festive season for bringing our country side inside the home.
You probably know our shop but right now our studio is like a Christmas cave,. We have just had a truck of Irish home grown pine and foraged branches arrive from Clare and then our fragrant foliage supplier has just dropped up our eucalyptus from Waterford. All of us in Appassionata love the fact that we can combine our natural habitat with the luxe of festive items like lush dried fruit and nuts, cones of all shapes and sizes and then there are the berried lovelies like skimmia and ivy that really add that extra oomph! I love to use herbs in our work too, it’s so important to mix those textures to create your own unique Christmas look.
We are also hoarders by nature so we already have our hydrangea dried and lots of bits collected ready to rock for Christmas. But Christmas home dressing should really be a joy so here’s my top tips for dressing with decadence minus the late night disasters…the rule is no more tears.
Trends at the moment are all about a combination of mixed green textures with a sense of luxe. More is more at Christmastime and you can always add some sparkle too to add a party feeling to your foliage.
Being a big believer in using what is in your surroundings, it’s a good idea to look outside and see what is left to forage from your garden or nearby wall., Decide the look that you love for your festive home, trust in your taste and then plan all your fresh decoration out so you can have all made in record time with a smile on your face.
Here’s a list of steps to take to make sure you don’t allow any stress to swerve in on Christmas week :
1. Make your list of all your needs by walking through your home and imagining what you would like to see once you come through your lovely front door. See what elements you have at home, pull out your vessels and then see if you need to order any loose cut flowers from your florist or get some extra plants…it’s also great to invest in a floristry scissors as it will allow you cut your stems properly and save you hand action trauma. The Oasis brand is perfect and is usually available from florists and garden centres.
2. Your front door : Your door wreath reflects your personality and your sense of home. Why not create that sense of neighbourhood envy by making your own wreath or customising a wreath you have bought. Gorgeous elements to add would include dried fruit, fresh apples, cinnamon bound in stylish knots of ribbon, cones you may have found on a forest floor, cut skimmia from your favourite bush in the garden. Herbs like bay leaves, rosemary and dried lavender add a magic touch and help give that sense of ‘Honey I’m home’ once your foot hits the doorstep.
I always put groupings of skimmia and cyclamen in pots combining pinks and reds for a bit of bright on the porch or why not buy 2 small Christmas or cypress trees and spray them with sparkle or snow for the kids delight.
3. The Hall – As this is space of all welcomings and goings, there needs to be a dramatic display with minimal maintenance required. Amaryllis would be a good trick pony here. A box of 12 stems will cost between €80-100 from a florist but these beautiful flowers could then be used in both the hall and then on each side of a mantelpiece. Why not place some stems into a midheight vase with twigs, berries or foliage and wait for those closed heads to burst into operatic bloom? A major tip here to ensure that you top up the water regularly due to the fact that we all seem to bump up our central heating this time of year and the flowers will be dying for a good old drink.
4. A contemporary Christmas tree – If you are like myself and have small people who love to help you decorate your own tree, a good way to satisfy your own Christmas joy is to create a Nordic inspired contemporary tree. Using twigs like magnolia, willow, beech, birch, place them in a nice vase or pot filled with moss and then hang your favourite and most delicate decorations in your own favourite spot so that you can really enjoy your own taste of twinkle
5. The Christmas Table – The Christmas dinner can prove stressful to plan but the dressing of the table can cause so many faces of fright in our shop when customers get overwhelmed about what would suit their meal setup. Key things to consider before you even think of flowers are the size and shape of the table, the quantity and ages of guests and under 10 diners, the amount of condiments, glasses, crackers and bottles, the amount of Christmas eating occasions that will take place. You need to have a table centre setup that will work for you for a week.
Our bestsellers are ‘A cozy gang’ or ‘A perfect round’ and they are magic – once kept in a cool spot over nights, this will get through the week. If you do like fresh flowers, add them in on the day.
Major life lesson alert here but don’t think for a second that making your table centre on Christmas Eve is a good idea. Otherwise there could be tears or sheer resentment as you stare at it on the big day You could make it on the 22nd and be grinning like a cheshire cat when all you have to do is place it – keep it sprayed with water and in a cool room. When making your masterpiece, a good tip is to place newspaper on your table before prepping all of your elements in a similar fashion to prepping for a stirfry. This will help with your styling and speed too and then you can gather up your mess easily once all is complete.
A secondary option waiting there in the wings is in the form of a runner or series of vases and pots, i love the mix of herbs, bulbs and plants like punky pink and pretty pink cyclamen mixed with posies of winter foliage and berries to simple domes of roses in my favourite vessels.
The advantage here is that you can have these vases popped casually hanging around your sitting room, bathroom ,kitchen and then if you have a gang around, gather them all in a jaunt and hey presto you have done it again as entertainer of the year. These trays of blooms are magical things too as you can just top with twiggies or springs. Again keeping water topped up is the only thing you should be doing. All of these can be reused and the bulbs can be planted out afterwards…
If you are making the big table centre, keep all your little cutoffs and spare bits for use in posies or trays…dress your hurricane lanterns with berries and moss and a touch of ribbon. If you are a hoarder like myself, grab some of your kept ribbon and give it a twist on your vessels.
For Christmas inspiration, we have lots of ideas on our site : http://www.appassionata.ie/content/christmas-ideas.html or please call into us in the shop to ask any questions or simply to chat about your creativity plans for Christmas.