The Knack: How to dress a Christmas tree

The first major Christmas tree I decorated was for Polo Ralph Lauren, at their flagship store in Bond Street. The tree was based on a large evergreen pine, with the most wonderful collection of preserved dried fruits, including oranges studded with aromatic cloves, and bundles of richly scented cinnamon sticks. I have also decorated a six-metre tall metal Christmas tree for the San Lorenzo restaurant in Beauchamp Place. Here, I covered the metal frame with lengths of blue pine run through with a mass of small white pea lights. The tree was then dressed with open wicker baskets, mounded high with herbs, spices and dried fruit.

My theme for this year is very much a flavour of the Orient, which has been reflected in the decorations that we have installed in the Joseph shops throughout London - birch wreaths and burgundy accessories, with a touch of gold glitter on them. We've used a lot of dried things, like clusters of papyrus grass and Oriental seed pods. This year, at home, I would use a non-drop Normandy blue pine tree, decorated with miniature red pea lights, and neat bunches of dyed red twigs, fir cones and red berries.

The general theme throughout my tree decoration is to keep to one colour. Start by putting the lights on, then add decorations one at a time - you may not need everything you have. Remember that less is sometimes more. Put the biggest decorations at the bottom, the smallest towards the top. Use miniature pea lights, baubles, and bunches of natural products such as berries, cones and twigs. Tinsel is definitely out! Scott Hughes

Stephen Woodhams is a florist and garden designer

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