Salvage from the Garden for Christmas

(15 November 2006)

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In November 2006 Christine Banbury of the Getty Estate came to talk to the SCG about Salvage from the Garden for Christmas. The talk was held in Cookham at the WI Hall there, which has proved a very pleasant venue once you have managed to find it. One big advantage is that it has a large white wall for projecting slides onto, although Christine's talk was actually hands on.

The first half of the evening Christine held a discussion with the audience on the effects of the dry summer and how people had dealt with hose pipe bans. There were comments that there had been fewer insects such as green fly and black fly due to the heat. Also people were starting to think about different ways of planning for the change in weather, although it did seem that summer 2006 had been a bit of a shock to everyone.

 The second part of the talk was about how things could be salvaged from the garden for decorating the home for Christmas. Christine had some enormous, dried allium heads, which looked wonderful in a vase sprayed in various colours.  She had also been out to the hedgerows and picked Old Man's Beard still with the heads on, she said the secret was to spray it with hairspray to stop it falling to bits in transit and when being displayed, she had even made the strands into wreaths. She had also collected bracken from the hedgerows and sprayed it gold and then put it in an old vase. This gave a wonderful effect. She changed the colours of the vases to a crimson red with paper which made them look a lot more festive and set off the flower arrangement beautifully. She had purchased some wonderful sprigs and garlands in Germany which she sold at the end and also metal rings for wreaths which she wound various greenery around, such as pine, holly and ivy. Again a spray of gold could really set them off. She had an enormous pile of items that could be used for very little cost, dried leaves and twigs being ideal for creating a Christmassy effect along with fir cones.  Her ideas were endless.

At the end she offered some of the items she had purchased herself for sale and people were able to chat to Christine while enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Everyone left all enthused with ideas for decorating their houses for the Christmas break.