BEST NATIVE CHRISTMAS TREE
Potted living Christmas trees are so much nicer than plastic imitations. For a real talking point, try going native. One of the best comes from Western Australia, Adenanthos sericeus, also known as Woolly Bush. It has a good Christmas tree shape, and the pine tree-like foliage has a slightly furry lovely texture. There are a number of great cultivars of Adenanthos sericius. A live tree in a beautiful pot would make a nice gift- good nurseries have them available.
PLANTS TO DRESS UP YOUR CHRISTMAS GARDEN
Christmas is such a lovely time to get the family together, and is often an outdoor event, with the best Australian food on offer. You can plan your garden and outdoor entertaining area so that it can equally be a star performer for your guests.
Babingtonia virgata (which used to be known as Baeckia virgata) flowers prolifically in mid December, with masses of small white flowers on weeping foliage- perfect for creating a white Christmas in our wide brown land!
Xerochrysum, everlasting daisies, are great for potted display as well as for the garden, and come in a great range of colours. They make perfect gifts- so much better and longer lasting than a bunch of flowers. The flowers can be picked and dried too.
Flowering gums put on a brilliant display coming up to Christmas. Corymbia ‘Baby Scarlet’ is an eye catching red and so appropriate for this time of year, but there are many other colours on the market as well, from white, pink, orange to reds.
There are lots of other great mid-summer flowering plants, such as kangaroo paws, pandoreas, scaevolas, and the ever popular Christmas bush. I love the creative person who thought to put the red and white kangaroo paws together in a pot…….
COOKING WITH BUSH TUCKER
Christmas cooking takes on a whole new dimension with Australian ingredients. I combined my Scottish heritage with one of my favourite bush tucker flavours to make lemon myrtle shortbread biscuits. I took my tried and true recipe from the Womens Weekly Cookbook, and simply added a generous pinch of dried and well crushed lemon myrtle leaves. The result is a delicious lemony tang, and it’s hard to stop at just one. If you cook a double batch, you can have some for visitors, and some to give away. They look great in coloured cellophane tied with a flamboyant ribbon. Cook your own batch with my recipe
Make your own very Australian decorations. I had a small fibre optic tree, just the right size for the table top, and I wanted to put the Angus touch to it. I used a sheet of craft foam from the two dollar shop, and some gold string. Punch three holes, thread the string through, knot them up, and voila, mini Aussie thongs. So easy! These could also be used as unique gift tags for your presents. Follow the sequence of pictures for your step by step guide to creating these little beauties. If you want bigger ones for a larger tree, you could cut them from plywood and use rope instead. I also collected seed capsules from various gum trees and a casuarina, and used a good quality spray can of silver paint to give them some oomph. You can use twist ties to attach them to your tree. Take the kids for a collecting walk these holidays!
Plants make great presents, but plain old nursery pots can look a bit dull. You can wrap pots in a lovely tea towel and a big bow to hold it in place, wind some tinsel around, or put into a decorative pot. I added some small baubles and a battery operated Christmas necklace just for fun. And we have a partridge in a Davidsons plum tree.
FOR YOUR LAST MINUTE GIFTS
The Wildflower Place at Erina have a great range of plants. They also source great Australian made gifts and paintings, and do spectacular native cut flower arrangements.