What are the items which are good to gather or buy to make Christmas decorations for the home?

Holly is great! But, one day the berries are there and then as migratory winter thrushes find their way across the sea suddenly the berries can disappear so pick some good sprigs, insert them in a damp compost in a cool place out of the way of hungry birds!

We use mistletoe as Burghley has no shortage of that, dogwood and willow stems in a variety of colours twist into hoops which we then wire other material onto, twisted willow and hazel, large leaved Ivy, blue cedar, beech leaves which often hold really well, ornamental grasses from the borders, Viburnham tinus and Christmas box – Sarcococca, seed heads like poppies, Phlomis and Echinacea, ever green shrubs favourites are Garrya elliptica, Photinia ‘Red Robin’ and Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’.

Your top tips for making a wreath:

We prefer to use moss as a base wired tightly with floristry wire onto an inexpensive wreath hoop.

Let your imagination go wild, walk your garden and look for the unusual to make a truly unique wreath and avoid all cost plastic flowers!

Do you have any ideas to help decorate your Christmas table this year by using items from our Gardens?

Add in snips of winter flowering shrubs. Plants that flower in the winter tend to rely on a strong lovely scent to attract the few insects. Search out Lonicera x purpussii, winter sweet - Chimonanthus praecox, Christmas box – Sarcococca or Viburnam bobnantense.

What is the perfect Christmas present to give someone who loves horticulture and gardening?

A good pair of Secateurs and a holster so they don’t end up in the compost heap – we favour Felco or Niwaki, sweet pea seed as a spring sown crop as opposed to the traditional autumn sowing time will extend next years flowering season. A good non-stainless steel pocket knife or knee pads depending on how old your gardeners knees are!

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Having a break! Often its thought that there not a great deal to do in the gardens but it’s the busiest time! This is when we get the chance to change things, so a week off prepares us for exciting projects in the new year.

Snowdrops – we have an expending collection and around this time of year a few start to flower.

Burghley House

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