I do realise that is the second post this week which mentions the C word and that I may well lose a particular friend as a subscriber as a result but, frankly, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. These particular Christmas preparations can’t wait and, along with cake making which happens this weekend, they mark the beginning of the gradual build up for me.

While you’re out tidying up the garden for the winter or frolicking in the autumn landscape keep an eye out for seed heads, teasels, acorns, conkers, pine cones, grasses and beautiful fallen leaves all of which can be collected now and hoarded for the festive season!

I particularly need you to start collecting leaves and pressing them for some ideas I have up my sleeve to share with you shortly; if you don’t do it now you won’t be able to join in and I know you’ll want to!

If you have alium heads in your garden pull some up and hang them in a cool airy place to dry. I shall be spraying some of these lightly with glitter. Nature’s own starbursts!

And these giants, lazing about on the windsurf boards, will make a dramatic display! I also leave some in the garden for a bit of winter structure, they look lovely with the dew on and glorious when frosted!

It’s also time to plant prepared hyacinth and narcissus bulbs indoors. If you do it now they may be ready in time for Christmas and will certainly be ready to brighten up the dark days of January. Bulbs are now in garden centres and you need to buy ‘prepared bulbs’ if you are growing them to flower inside. Our hyacinths are doing their thing in hyacinth jars in a dark cupboard in the family bathroom, snuggled up between a Christmas jumper and a fluffy hot water bottle cover! My Darling Girl and I grinned at each other as we carried them upstairs, these repeated rituals cement family relationships!

There are paperwhite narcissus planted in bowls of bulb fibre on the windowsills and narcissus tête à tête planted in a bowl in the fridge (they need pre chilling at below 10°C to force them into growth which the paperwhites don’t – it’s not cold enough consistently in the garage yet but as soon as it is they will be sent out there!) which will nod their sunny heads at me as winter draws on.

These simple preparations for the season ahead give me enormous satisfaction. Put on some thick socks, pull on your wellies, grab a bag and go collecting – you’ll be glad you did!




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