After the year we’ve had, it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to signing-off on it with good food, good drink and importantly, good people. To set the scene and help you celebrate in style, let’s shake up the traditional decorations with replace them with plants – naturally! They’re beautiful and long-lasting (well, with good care) and will help elevate the space, giving your celebrations a wonderful point of difference. Plus, they can continue to live on in the garden after the festivities are over – bonus! Here are 5 ideas for you to try.

Succulent wreath centrepiece

This festive wreath is certain to add cheer to your Christmas table. It does require a little bit of work, but I promise it’s worth it. 

You’ll need: a circular wire frame (like this), sphagnum moss, flexible wire, assorted mix of succulent cuttings (between 50-100 cuttings, depending on the size) and floristry pins. 

Here’s how: 

Soak the sphagnum moss in a bucket of water, squeeze out the excess moisture and lay a 7cm bed of moss onto the wire, using the flexible wire to secure the moss to the frame. Make a hole in the moss and insert a succulent cutting, using floristry pins to secure in place, if required. Repeat until the frame is full. Once finished, position the frame flat onto a surface in a bright spot, out of direct sunlight. It will need to be kept flat for at least 6-8 weeks while the succulents take root, but it means it’s perfect as a centrepiece for the special day. When the moss is nearly dry, water with a hose or watering can.   

Herb planter 

Introduce colour and fragrance to the table with a herb planter. Guests can enjoy their scents and choose to pick and garnish their dishes, if desired. Look for a low container with drainage holes and a matching saucer, either in a rustic or modern style and plant up a mix of aromatic herbs, like oregano, parsley, rosemary, mint or basil. Don’t leave them in there for too long after, especially if you’re growing rosemary and mint. Potting them up in separate pots will give them room to grow into their full potential. 

Trio of trees

Purchase dwarf conifers from your local nursery – abies, thuja or chamaecyparis – and depending on their size, use them as the table centrepiece or pot them up in containers. Group them in the corner of your entertaining area or flank them on either side of the entrance to help give prominence to the space. 

Pots of colour

Real or faux half wooden barrels planted with red and white petunias really set the scene for Christmas. If you prefer a more subdued look, go for gardenias. The shrubs are magnificent when in full bloom and their scent is intoxicating – perfect when spending the day or night (or both) outdoors.  

Branch out

The next time you see fallen branches on the ground, pick them up. Sounds absurd, I know, but stick with me. Their sculptural forms make for great ornamental pieces – use them in vases on the side table, dining table or even suspended above as a naturalistic feature. Personally, I prefer the raw bark look, but if you want a festive twist, spray paint it white, silver or gold. And if you want to take it further, adorn it with Christmas ornaments.