We’ve been chatting to local florist Jan Waters from JW Blooms to get some top tips on how you can use easily foraged foliage to make your table fit for a festive feast.

1) Have some small bottles with sprigs of berries or seed heads in.

Spindleberries, ivy berries, holly berries or sprigs of mistletoe look great in small antique bottles which you can pick up in most junk shops. Birch sprigs are lovely too, with their dangling seed pods, and curly willow is good to give things a bit of a rustic touch. Winter-flowering honeysuckle is just starting to flower and smells amazing.

Holly berries

2) Scatter things down the middle of the tablecloth - like cranberries and lanterns.

There's loads of old man's beard in the hedgerows at the moment and a trail of that down the middle of the table looks great too. Trailing ivy will also work as it’s good out of water - dunk it in a bowl of water for half an hour before you use it so it's well hydrated and it will be fine without a water source. Other foliage will usually need to be in water to stop it wilting but ivy stands up well.

3) Get a cheap pot of forced narcissi from a supermarket or garden centre and drop the plastic pot into a prettier container.

Stick in some sprigs of birch or curly hazel to give it a natural look and support the bulbs, then cover the soil with some lovely bright green moss (the wet weather means our grass is full of it). It transforms a cheap pot of bulbs into something lovely.

JW Blooms are based in nearby Hillcommon. From March – October, you can visit the Flower Field and buy bunches of beautiful blooms.

Hestercombe is open every day except 25th December during the festive period. See our full opening hours.

Hestercombe Gardens aerial Pawel Borowski DJI 0038

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