With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
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.
David Coton was recently invited to the exclusive launch of Grange's new products for 2018, the result of significant investment that the garden structures and fencing firm have received from their Polish parent company.
David Coton suggests that there are plenty of gardening jobs that need to be done in November, from why you shouldn't throw away your fallen leaves to how to take care of your vegetable patch.
In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.