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Broadleaf evergreens such as holly, pieris and boxwood can be clipped year round and piled inside for a festive touch. As GardenWise horticulturist Carolyn Jones reminds us, “one of any two crisscrossing branches on deciduous shrubs should be removed. Take bits from the inside or back, too – don’t just clip the easy-to-reach front branches.”
Pruning aside, take the time to look closely at your garden for jewels. “Bring in some branches of winter-flowering jasmine, witch hazel and sarcococca,” says Carolyn, “and flower buds usually open indoors.” Other buds may not unfurl but are stunning nonetheless – such as those of rhodos, Pieris japonica and star magnolia.
Use these cuttings to deck your halls, entwine your banister, decorate your door, or as Carolyn suggests, fill an old terra-cotta pot with sand, poke in your cuttings and wrap some ribbon or mini lights around it.
Don’t be afraid to be creative, says floral artist Maureen Sullivan. For a unique touch, she suggests fresh cranberries: Simply fill a favourite bowl with water and tip in a bag or two. Amidst the floating berries, add sprigs of holly or other foliage and floating candles. Surround the bowl with cuttings from your garden for a gorgeous display.