DECEMBER is an atmospheric month when we spend a lot of time indoors, but we can also make the garden Christmassy.

As well as the familiar Christmas tree, there are three attractive evergreen plants that we can transform into a festive plant: Buxus, Laurus nobilis and Chamaecyparis.

By the front door, in the garden or on the balcony, these plants will certainly look very impressive with atmospheric lighting and Christmas decorations, enabling you to turn a permanent plant in the garden into a beautifully- decorated festive plant.

With these three evergreens, December becomes even more atmospheric!

Buxus is commonly known as Box. The evergreen branches symbolise life, which is very appropriate at Christmas. This evergreen shrub lends structure to a garden, balcony or patio, particularly in winter.

Buxus’s leaves also remove fine particulates from the air. Boxwood is very heavy and was used in the past to make musical instruments and sculptures.

Buxus plants can be pruned to virtually any required shape – they’re almost ‘kneadable’ products. Decorated with festive materials, Buxus looks fabulous in the garden in the run-up to Christmas!

The best-known festive conifer is Lawson Cypress, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Ellwoodii’. This plant, which reaches a height of around 1.25 m, is very suitable for pots or containers and for ‘dressing’ beautifully. ‘Ellwoodii’ has a vertical pyramid shape and is greyish blue. The juvenile form of the plant has upright twigs and narrow blue needles. Older plants have more tips, and the adult form has scales. It is often used as a decorated Christmas tree during the festive season.

Laurus nobilis, or Laurel, is also very suitable for use in an attractive pot or container beside the front door, enhancing the foliage and trunk with Christmas decorations. The globe or pyramid shapes are best suited to this. And you can also use the leaves to create delicious recipes.

You can keep these ‘festive plants’ healthy and attractive by following a couple of simple tips.

All three species should be placed in partial shade to full sun. Place the plant in well-draining, moderately damp soil, and water regularly.

Give the plant extra food in the spring so they grow well and remain healthy. It’s particularly important to feed the plants regularly if they’re in pots.

In principle, Buxus and Chamaecyparis are very hardy. Laurus nobilis can tolerate a few degrees of frost, but it’s a good idea to protect the plant or bring it indoors in the event of heavy frost.

All three festive plants are very suitable for topiary, and are often offered in unusual shapes.

Buxus and Laurus nobilis, in particular, can be turned into fabulous spheres, pyramids or cylinders.

The best times to prune the plants are June and the end of September. Pruning is only really necessary if the plants get too big and to keep them in shape.