This year when I topped out the eucalyptus trees in the garden I decided to put it to good use. Waiting until 22nd December, I ventured out to cut a small amount off the trees. It turned into a serious hair cut for the trees which gave me lots of lovely foliage to work with – definitely more than enough for a mantle garland!
Here’s how I created my mantle garland. Word of warning, I am NOT an expert and this was my first time with a few lessons learned which I will enlighten you to so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes!
I used eucalyptus but you could use anything really. Whatever you use, ensure to recut any stalks to ensure they get the water and on the more woody branches, slit up into them by about 1cm. I started with some oasis cylinders (20 cylinders via Amazon at £7.40). I soaked the overnight in water (and a little sugar) to ensure my eucalyptus would look good over the next week or so.
I then squeezed them in to take away pots as tightly as possible – you want them to sit still in the container. I actually upgraded to porcelain dished halfway through as the weight of some of the larger branches were starting to topple it over. The weightier the better I found. Again, really pack them in tightly into whatever container you use.
I then began to cut larger pieces that I would use to make the initial shape of the garland. I wanted some heights in the centre and also some width on the sides. For my mantle display, I only used two containers worth in the end as that was wide enough for me, but you could use as many as you like, just think about how they sit together as you begin to add the foliage.
I kept smaller pieces for the lower section to hide the containers from view. I wanted my garland to be very full but also quite natural, so I chose to have pieces pointing in different directions. I also wanted it to slightly overhanging the mantle to hide the fixings fro, the paper decorations hanging below.
I had some pampas grass that I wanted to include in my mantle garland. I started with ten springs but only used eight in the end – four pointing out to each side. Once in, I added in some more eucalyptus to hide the stalks.
Finally, I added some wire fairly lights and gently weaved them into the display. It was important not to use anything heavy that will crush the foliage and also something that won’t get too hot. Candles would look lovely, but be careful to not let them burn down to the foliate, perhaps life the base up above it with a candlestick hidden in the centre of the leaves.
Christmas Table display
I had so much eucalyptus left that I created a table centrepiece too! The concept is the same but this time working from all sides to ensure it looks great from every angle around the table. Height is key too; you want your guests to be able to talk over the decorations with ease.
All pics by me, Anna at Green & Mustard.