Last year’s Christmas tree constructed from toetoe plumes (overseas readers may like to think pampas grass) was a tour de force, though I say so myself. On the downside, it did moult badly and I can recall quite a mess as we manoeuvred it out of the house after the event. Though the same can be said for the traditional pine tree too, and pine needles are a great deal more difficult to vacuum up. The step by step instructions for this model are still available.
The tree this year does not lend itself to last minute creation. It needs a sturdy frame to hold the shape. Fortunately we have one, most kindly given to us by a friend.
We saved the grape vine stems from the winter pruning round and kept them under cover. It takes quite a few and I only just had sufficient. Any flexible, long whippy growths could be used – willow, soft canes or wisteria come to mind.
Build in layers by simple weaving. I tied the first rows in place temporarily, to hold them in place. By the following day, they had set in place and no longer wanted to spring out.
Because the top of the frame was very narrow, the grape vines were not sufficiently flexible. I swapped to fresh wisteria vine for the peak. It will dry to a brown shade but will be covered by the angel anyway.
I trimmed any large ends which spoiled the shape. If I had more grape vine, I would have packed the weaving tighter as I went, but I didn’t so I couldn’t.
The finished product is in place and decorating can start. It is possibly the easiest tree ever to decorate, because the ends of the vines make handy little hooks all over the surface. Rather than adding Christmas lights on the outside, we are lighting from the inside of the tree using a table lamp.