Window Lights are wonderful way to greet visitors to your house at Christmas, and here Andy Taylor reviews Konstsmide's contemporary and traditional range of Candlesticks, Welcome Lights and Silhouettes.
Christmas wreaths, swags and garlands might be thought a little old fashioned, but Robert Hall thinks that modern versions of these traditional decorations are a fabulous way to combine tradition with colourful contemporary themes.
People have been using holly, ivy, laurel and other evergreens to decorate their homes over Christmas for hundreds of years, but today's Wreaths and Garlands bring tradition up to date with bright new materials and effects.
You might think that a wreath is a simple handcrafted ring of fir branches, but that's possibly before you have seen Premier Poinsettia wreaths.
These are a colourful confection red, gold and greens with pine cones, berries and baubles. Some are lit by LEDs to enhance the colours and textures.
There are minimalistic designs with bunches of red or gold berries and these contrast with rustic styles that are a winter cornucopia of fir cones, leaves and berries, even citrus fruits and cinnamon.
Fibre optics can add intense gold flourishes while bright LEDs sprinkle light on Konstsmide's battery operated wreaths.
However sumptuous these designs are, there should still be room in everyone's home for a wreath with a simple red bow. Handcrafted and locally sourced, the wonderfully scented foliage cannot be beaten.
Garlands can grace walls, stairs or doorways. Again the foliage may be augmented with berries and real pine cones and completed with fairy lights.
Luxurious ones feature large velvety burgundy coloured poinsettias and finished in glitter gold with complementing red berries.
Simpler garlands comprise foliage with LEDs lights that can be displayed inside or outside the house. Others are a mix of green bay leaves, ivory, gold baubles, ribbons and perhaps fruits.
As opposed to the mesmerising colour changes are achieved by fibre optics, others have a dusting of snow with white berries for an attractive wintery effect.
A Christmas swag is a beautiful addition to a fireplace or wall. These differ from garlands as they are thinner at the ends and heavier in the middle.
A luxury style will have foliage dressed in gold dusted cones and leaves, Christmas lights may be added if you so wish.
If you want something more opulent choose one with gold coloured embellishments that contrast with the natural looking green foliage and feature gold poinsettia heads and baubles that are spaced along the swag’s length.
More naturalistic swags have lifelike foliage and are generously decorated with real pine cones and bright red berries. They are designed using wire and therefore can be easily shaped as required.
Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed by the choice, quality and design that is on offer.
Here in Birmingham, the weather has been as changeable as ever, very warm just before Easter followed by a cold spell only last week. During May the threat of further frost will largely pass and, with spring well under way, Robert Hall is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.
The weather forecast is for a sizzling summer and David Coton is already looking forward to preparing delicious barbecued food for his family and friends. Barbecues have become incredibly popular over recent years and here is David's guide on what to look out for when choosing one of these summer essentials.
Sheds of any kind are ubiquitous in the British garden and, due to their popularity, there are plenty to choose from. David Coton explores the basic considerations that need to be taken into account before purchasing one.
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.