Collecting Stunning Natural Decorations for Christmas!

November is a wonderful time to head outdoors in search of seed heads, pine cones, interesting stems and fallen branches to create stunning indoor decorations for Christmas.

Honesty (Lunaria annua) seed pods can are easily over looked whilst their outer casings are intact.

Honesty (Lunaria annua) seed heads are called silicules.  As a whole they may appear a little drab, but gently flex Honesty seed capsules between your fingers and the outer casing will peel off and reveal the elegant beauty of Lunaria annua.  Repeat the same process on the other side to unveil the silky inner centre with its gorgeous natural shine and translucent glow.  Don’t forget to save the brown round, flattened seeds – they’ll pop out as the protective outer layers are removed.  Lunaria annua seeds can be sown from April onwards, outdoors.

Just a few stems of Honesty look very elegant as a lasting arrangement in a vase. Here’s a close up view of one the many empty seed capsules with its outer sheath removed to reveal the glistening oval within.
I separated my Honesty into individual pieces and tied them to a length of cord to make a homegrown bunting. To be honest you don’t need to go to this level of effort as a few stems of Honesty in a vase looks spectacular!
Here’s another look at my homegrown Honesty bunting. Dried Honesty seed heads lasts for many years.
I collected these pine cones about 26 years ago. Pine cones make stunning Christmas decorations with an added advantage of being both lasting and resilient yet biodegradable. Simply tie a loop of cotton around the scales of the central core of the cone. Make sure your cotton loop is long enough to allow the pine cone to easily be added to large or small branches.
Poppy seed heads also make long-lasting decorations. Place a number of stems in a vase or alternatively tie the seed heads to form tight bundles and display on your Christmas tree. Add highlights with gold or silver paint if you wish.

November is the ideal time to collect dried plant materials like seed pods, fallen branches, and other items that will last longer indoors in the dry than they will outdoors.  However, wait until December before collecting any green, living foliage or berries you might want to display inside for Christmas, as these items will soon start to deteriorate after they’ve been cut and brought indoors.

Ivy (Hedera helix) is a wonderful plant that provides food and shelter for a wide range of insects, birds, and wildlife.  Ivy berries are a valuable and precious food source for birds over winter.  When collecting ivy, holly, and other plant materials, please be mindful of wildlife and remember their need for food and shelter.  If ivy is growing around a drainpipe, or your plant has become too wide or too tall, add a reminder in your diary to cut back your plants (if necessary) in December and use the pliable stems as swags and decorations.

Holly (Ilex) leaves can be used as name holders for dinner parties. I like to use a gold or silver pen to write a name on each leaf. Ivy (Hedera helix) and Laurel leaves are other options. For best results use large, evergreen leaves.

Large ivy and holly leaves make fabulous name holders; use silver or gold pen to write your guests’ names on the leaves.

If you’re hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner party, collect holly leaves from the garden to create simple, yet beautiful and sustainable table settings.

In November and December, I am often asked if it is too late to plant bulbs or whether it’s better to hold onto the bulbs and plant them next autumn.  Bulbs do not keep.  If a bulb isn’t planted, it eventually dries out and desiccates, or rots and decomposes.  If you’ve got any crocus, daffodil, Allium, and other spring flowering bulbs languishing in your shed, check over the bulbs, discarding any that feel soft or mouldy, and plant the plump and healthy bulbs now.

Allium cristophii flowers have a delightful sheen. These flowers are a magnet for bees and other pollinating insects.

If you want to enjoy Allium flowers and use their decorative seed pods as Christmas decorations next year, there’s still time to plant Allium bulbs, but hurry as stocks will be dwindling!

This is an Allium cristophii seed head from my garden. If you want to you could spray your seed heads silver, gold, or any colour to match your theme.

Tulip bulbs are prone to a fungal disease called Tulip Fire which distorts the plant’s growth.  Delaying planting tulip bulbs until December or January (or waiting until we’ve had a few hard frosts) can reduce the chances of your tulips contracting this infection.

Jackie Currie, pictured with her National Collection of Alliums, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.

To read about Jackie Currie’s National Collection of Alliums, please click here.

For more gardening advice for November, please click here.

For articles about houseplants, please click here.

To see my houseplant plant pages with advice on growing a wide range of houseplants, please click here.

To see all my plant pages and discover information about vegetables, fruit, trees, shrubs, ferns, orchids, roses, perennials, annuals, sweet peas, and climbing plants, please click here.

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One thought on “Collecting Stunning Natural Decorations for Christmas!

  1. Jackie Banham

    November 10, 2023 at 11:08am

    I’ve tried saving this to Pinterest but it keeps telling me the picture is broken. I’ve tried several images and it says the same for all of them

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      November 10, 2023 at 11:17am

      Hello Jackie,
      Thanks for your message I get the same message when I try to pin the photos from my latest post on Pinterest. I don’t know what the problem is – as the image isn’t broken. I have experienced this before with Pinterest when I’ve tried to pin images from my posts and when I’ve tried to pin other images, but I sadly don’t know how to resolve the issue. Sorry.

      I hope you have a lovely weekend.

      best wishes

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      November 15, 2023 at 8:43am

      Hello again Jackie, just to let you know that I was just able to pin the pictures from this article in Pinterest – hopefully it will also work for you now. Best wishes, Beth

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