Festive fun

Courtesy of Palmers comes a step-by-step for making a succulent wreath, DIY plantable gift tags and cards, or even a Christmas tree made from living succulents.

Click here to watch a 3-minute video on making a wreath using pinecones that have been painted to resemble zinnias (note that creator Jacob Leaf has some specialised gear but there are probably ways around it).

Christmas trees need not be green!

Here are 22 images (and ideas) for creating Christmas trees without cutting down or de-limbing an actual tree.

Did you know there’s a worldwide shortage of ginger? The Guardian newspaper (UK) says it’s caused by a bad harvest in China, source of almost half the world’s exports. The newspaper has helpfully gathered some links to cooking without, or substituting if you can’t find the spice, and includes a recipe for a gingerless mice-pie filling.

One of my favourite Christmas foods is stollen, a fruit-studded bread of German origin. I once thought about making it but the recipe I found had a list of ingredients as long as my arm! This stollen recipe seems much more approachable. Stollen is available from supermarkets in New Zealand and it keeps well.

For traditionalists, here’s a link to the recipe for Tui Flower’s Christmas Cake. Those old enough will remember Tui Flower (1925-2017) as the doyenne of the NZ Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen for 20 years.

Previous posts you may enjoy about plants we associate with Christmas – Poinsettia, mistletoe (including New Zealand’s native mistletoe), and pohutukawa, known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

A planting of pohutukawa in an industrial area near Mount Muanganui. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I would like to wish all my readers, near and far, a peaceful and safe, happy and healthy festive season – and hope to see you back here, shiny and bright in 2021! xx

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