Fresh ideas for fragrant holiday decorations

Francois Oberholster

Photographs Francois Oberholster

X marks the spot

Christmas is the perfect time to showcase your creative talents! Whether you sew, embroider or paint your decorations, why not display your handiwork on a large branch suspended above the table? These stunning DIY cross-stitch ornaments from Just Love Stitch are hand-stitched on a hardboard template. The kits come with a base, how-to template and just the right amount of thread. It’s the ideal gift for someone special who enjoys crafting! Order yours at

The Midas touch

All you need to make this beautiful leafy wreath is a wheel-shaped cardboard cut-out for the base, a selection of hardy leaves and sprigs (such as magnolia, lemon, bay, broad-leaved pepper, cyprus or pine), some metallic craft paint or spray paint and a glue gun. Look around the garden for leaves with different shapes and textures, keeping in mind that you want the wreath to dry out, rather than wilt after all your careful glueing; choose hardy leaves rather than delicate ones. Spray-paint some sprigs in metallic colours and allow them to dry before using your glue gun to assemble your artwork. Inspired by the blog

Make like a tree and leaf!

Instead of hanging a pair of antlers on the wall, try a staghorn fern on a piece of bark! “Like any air plant, this beauty likes a bit of shade and a sprinkling of water from time to time,” explains Biddy Riley of The Pink Geranium nursery.

Shooting through hoops

Encourage family and friends to capture their memories at your next get-together by hanging a ‘picture hoop’. It’s easy: use an inexpensive plastic hula hoop and gold spray paint to create the base and then adorn the bottom half with twigs, leaves, berries and blooms. The Koopman family – Rupert, Florence and little Amelia (2) – show us how it’s done.

Hang your hoop from a ribbon in a spot where the light is good and the background is pleasing. We used delicate battery-operated decorative copper wire lights to help keep the greenery in place and add a bit of sparkle. Decorative copper wire lights (10m) from Neat Things

In the atmosphere

This succulent sphere was made by joining together two hanging basket bases filled with potting soil and an oasis to form a ball shape. It was then carefully planted with all sorts of succulents from The Pink Geranium nursery. If you want to make your own, remember to give the succulents plenty of time to take root. Feed them with liquid fertiliser added to water in a spray bottle. Whether you stick to one type of succulent or plant a variety, the effect is especially striking when they flower in all directions. Alternatively, order one directly from The Pink Geranium nursery.

It’s the gift that keeps on growing! – Biddy Riley, The Pink Geranium

Scents and sensibility

A small fragrant wreath of hardy herbs such as rosemary or lavender will not only smell lovely but also look pretty on the back of a chair or hanging from your kitchen door. Arrange the sprigs in the shape of a circle (all facing in the same direction) then wind them together with a ribbon.

If you want your wreath to keep its shape, create a wire circle onto which you can attach the herbs. We added chillies for colour and citrus peel stars for flair. Use a cookie cutter to form the stars, make a small hole with a kebab stick and string them up on the wreath. As the stars dry, their shape will change and they’ll give off a subtle citrus aroma.

Spice is nice!

Use a glue gun and cinnamon sticks to create little lantern shapes. Hide the glue with dried spices and decorate with citrus peel stars and hardy herbs.

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