One of the many joys of my garden is watching the seasons change. No matter the time of year, I love bringing my garden indoors with floral arrangements – it stimulates and satisfies my creative side. But as the leaves fall and winter moves in, my imagination really gets sparked!

Holiday arrangement

You can find all kinds of beautiful plants in your garden for a festive, natural-looking holiday arrangement.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Bradley Lenet

Cotoneaster berries

Cotoneaster berries add a bright touch for a Christmas arrangement.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Bradley Lenet


The variegated leaves of Hebe add grace and interest to holiday decorations.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Bradley Lenet

As the colors in my garden ebb and flow, I find myself walking along the pathways and taking mental notes of which cuttings I’ll use to make up my holiday decorations. I’m always looking for a late harvest of fall roses and other flowers, fruits, berries, seeds and foliage to lengthen the life of any arrangement. I always turn my shrubs with thick, glossy, green foliage like Camellia and Ligustrum for the foundation of any good display. Then I let the fun and the creativity begin as I chose among variegated Hebe, Pittosporum, Nandina, Cotoneaster – or any shrub with good leaf structure and holding capacity.

You should wait to prune your picks from the garden until the day you want to make an arrangement because the materials you use should be as fresh as possible. Morning harvest is best, allowing a minimum of one to two hours for the plant material to absorb water. And be sure to get your cuttings from the back of a shrub or tree or from an area that needs pruning so it doesn’t ruin the look of your landscape. (And absolutely avoid using poisonous ingredients if you have young children or hungry pets in your household.)

Even though it’s late in the season, you can still find some flowers in the garden for your arrangement. Good seasonal choices that make great focal points include shasta daisies, Rudbeckia, spider chrysanthemums and Aster. Don’t forget to scan your yard for accents for your work of art – you can be daring and creative with your choices. Fruit is often a great addition. In fact, hard persimmons, pomegranates and apples are just some of the tasty treats that add color and dimension to any arrangement.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, get ready to create! Choose a container that complements your existing décor. Be inventive in your choices. (One of my favorite containers is an olive oil can with a great Italian motif on the front.)

If you’re making an arrangement for the first time, use a small container with a few simple ingredients. If you’re using heavy materials, a florist frog will help secure the materials. Light- or medium-weight plant materials work well with floral foam. (Before working with the foam, let it float on top of a bucket of water and gradually soak up the liquid until it’s completely immersed.)

To build the basic framework, use three stems of dark green, glossy leaves like Camellia or Ligustrum. Next, add a focal point flower in the front of the arrangement (perhaps a white or red camellia or rose), and fill in the spaces with stems of variegated foliage like Hebe or Leptospermum. To add apples or hard persimmons to your floral display, poke the back end of the fruit onto a florist pick. Place the pointed end into the arrangement. Then finish it off with a festive bow for the holidays!

Now that you’ve got the basics of a simple arrangement, go ahead and experiment with distinctive choices from your garden. Consider how the different colors complement each other and set off the foliage. Be creative, be bold and have fun! The options are as endless as your garden!