How to make your own Cotehele garland

For the past 60 years, volunteers and staff at Cotehele, Cornwall, have created a 60ft Christmas garland using estate-grown flowers. Head Gardener David Bouch explains how to make your own

Step 1: Get your seeds

To grow the flowers used in the Cotehele garland you will need seeds for Limonium sinuatum ‘Pacific mix’ (statice), Helichrysum bracteatum monstrosum (strawflowers), Lagurus ovatus (hare’s tail grass), Acroclinium ‘Giant double flower mix’ (immortelles), Helipterum roseum ‘Pierrot’ (South African daisies) and Limonium suworowii (pink pokers). You can buy these in a seed pack from the Cotehele shop or the online shop. 

Step 2: Sowing

Sow the seeds in January if you have a heated seed tray, February/March in a heated greenhouse, or March/April in an unheated greenhouse. Fill a small plant pot or seed tray with peat-free seed compost. Evenly sprinkle the seeds all over it and cover with a thin layer of compost. Water, cover with glass or a clear plastic bag and leave in a warm, sunny place.

Step 3: Growing

When the seedlings emerge, remove the cover. Once they are big enough to handle, gently separate them and replant each in a pot. Keep them damp and protect from frost. Once the risk of frost has gone, plant them out in your garden.

Step 4: Picking and drying

Pick when in bloom and the plant is about 15cm tall. Strip off the leaves and gather about ten stems into a bunch. Hang them upside down to dry in a dark, airy space. They can be left until December but should be dry and brittle in two to four weeks.

Step 5: Assembling

Take a length of rope and make a loop at each end. Cover it completely with bunches of any greenery you have, tying them with garden wire. Then poke the dried flowers one by one into the greenery.

This step by step guide first appeared in the autumn 2016 edition of National Trust Magazine.