Floral artist and Founder of Hazel Gardiner Design
19/ The Art of Christmas With Hazel Gardiner
For our third edition of “The Art of Christmas”, favourite foral artist and designer Hazel Gardiner gives us an insight into her Christmas rituals and favourite tips and tricks to making your own unique wreath this festive season.
Hazel is the founder of the eponymous business Hazel Gardiner Design. Started in 2016, it has quickly established its own narrative in floral design. Her unique signature style of floral storytelling utilises fresh, silk, and dried materials in a beautiful and exuberant way.
My Christmas ritual begins with a visit to either Burford Garden Centre or Liberty to select a number of new ornaments for my collection. I have a different theme each year but always in a harmonious colour palette. I love building up a collection that has lots of possibilities! For me, Christmas decorating is an extension of my floral design style; I often create set pieces for editorials, so I relish the task of creating an oversized installation indoors. Aside from the tree, there has to be a garland which actually sits on top of our Vitsoe shelving. I get lost in the Christmas spirit when I’m creating this! It could be an eclectic mix of seasonal greenery one year to ombre dried flowers the next.
Photography by Jon Corrigan
Your decorations should reflect your personal style and interior taste. I also try and see some live, preferably candlelit, music to really ramp us that Christmas feeling. Of course, that will be different this year, so maybe I’ll have a night of mulled wine in front of the fire pit with a festive playlist instead. I’m also finally meeting my new nephew at Christmas which is the gift I’m most looking forward to.
I love incorporating dried flowers into my wreaths. I’m a big fan of Piet Oudolf and grow many different varieties of grasses in the garden; these make a wonderful ingredient for a modern wreath design, especially Hakonechloa Macra. This grass turns a warming shade of orangey-red in the winter.
Photography by Natale Towell.
A wreath doesn’t have to be circular - craft your own shape from a wire hanger and perhaps try a square or triangle to mix things up. Throughout the year I’m always picking up shaped metal frames to use as alternatives. Another favourite flower of mine to grow is Clematis. Once the leaves have fallen, I save the vines as they make the perfect natural wreath base.
I’m definitely a more is more personality, but there is something to be said about a wreath created from a single ingredient. Dried hydrangeas, dusky eucalyptus or Gypsophila, affectionately known as Baby's-breath, all work for simple designs. These are a chic take on the more traditional pine or fir varieties commonly used.
Photography by Natale Towell.
It’s always worth considering scent. If you have an artificial wreath or tree you can use pine scented spray specially designed for this purpose, so you don’t miss out. A favourite foliage of mine to work with is Cypress Arizona Blue Ice which has a gorgeous aroma. It leaves a sticky residue on your hands but nothing some washing up liquid mixed with olive oil won’t get rid of. This trick is perfect for removing eucalyptus residue too. I created big urns of eucalyptus at my wedding, so I was thankful for this hack.
I’d recommend having a play with creating an asymmetrical design or use a hula hoop to create an oversized wreath. Playing with oversized proportions is a really fun way of pushing your creativity.
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