Ahead of next Monday's Creative Christmas in The Merrion Hotel we had a quick chat and with Ruth Monahan, managing director of Appassionata Flowers to discuss all things Christmas.
Q1. Coming into the festive season, what key decor pieces do you think every household should have?
It's all about thinking about what you would like to see at home once you arrive on your doorstep. I love to plant up pots in the porch filled with festive cyclamen in deep hues of red and pink. Then there's nothing like creating your own door wreath filled with fragrant foliage and herbs and all things you love yourself which could be anything from dried fruit to lavender and rosemary, foraged berried foliage, gorgeous cinnamon and nutmeg and I love a bit of skimmia too. I think its great to have a long lasting but dramatic vase display in your hall as a way to welcome your festive guests, amaryllis and twigs work a treat here.
Taking inspiration from the Nordic interior style, its great to create a contemporary style tree using magnolia or willow twigs or some you might foraged. Place them in a vase in the kitchen and hang all those gorgeous decorations that you love and cherish especially if your own Christmas tree design has been somewhat adapted by the smaller people in the house.
When thinking about table centres, I love to create smaller vases in series to place along the table with candles and strewn cones and fruit. Mixes of seasonal foliage look gorgeous in white porcelain, mixed posies of reds and pinks mixed with skimmia and herbs adds that touch of bright. By using smaller vases, this means that you can adapt the table centres for other occasions during the Christmas period. For a more formal setting, a teardrop display with candles inset filled with garden foliage, berries and more looks great and once kept in a cool place during nights, it should last until little Christmas.
It's all about the small touches too ranging from hyacinth bulbs placed in stylish vessels or ceramics to sprigs of eucalyptus in your favourite glass vessel to succulents accessorised with moss in your favourite pot. The most important thing is that you have flowers, foliage and plants that you love for your home but that don't require lots of constant love during such a busy festive time.
Q.2. What colours are on trend for Christmas this year?
There has been a return to luxe this Christmas with a combination of earthy hues, burgundy reds but bringing in the richness of navy berries and an element of sparkle.
Q.3. What is your favourite part about decorating your home?
The most enjoyable part for me is creating all the pieces with input from the children. They love being able to choose what goes in their door wreath and have a great time when we start to put together the table centres for Christmas Day. I alway try to ensure there is lots of texture and colour with a sense of fun and ease.
Q.4 When is the best time to buy floral arrangements so they will last over the Christmas period?
I would always advise ordering your flowers in early December so you will definitely have the flowers you have planned for the festive time. For fresh flowers, place them in your house by the 23rd. If your home is especially warm, it's a good idea to move your table centres or fresh flowers to a cooler room overnight. For the amaryllis lovers, buy them at least 4 days before Christmas Eve so that they have fully burst into bloom by the time the main day arrives. The worst day to try and buy flowers is Christmas Eve as the selection will be very limited and then you won't have the flowers you really wanted to have to dress your home. If you are making your own displays, it's a good idea to have everything done by the 23rd so you can really enjoy the 24th with your family and friends.
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