Christmas is coming. I have made a cake and am halfway through the famous Smart Christmas broadcast which wings its way around the world at this time of year. I haven’t made any chutney, written any cards or wrapped any presents. Local supermarket operatives no longer ask whether I’m ready for Christmas, accustomed as they are to the raised eyebrow, usually reserved for members of my gardening class who adopt a gungho approach to weeding the seed bed.

However in Flower Farmer land, life is all about the C word. My chum Sara (@myflowerpatch) who has assumed the mantle of blog photographer has been beavering away on a large Chistmas wreath and garlanding project  for one of the local hostelries and plenty of #britishflowers tweeps have been making industrial quantities of Christmas wreaths for markets and individual clients who are rather more organised than me.

I do have an excuse in that my creative juices have been flowing on the Abingdon Park Outdoor Classroom Project, for which I am writing all the schools’ education packs. (More of this another time) The National Trust are also ahead of the game and organising  their 2014 holiday activities for children and families and so I have  been putting together proposals for these as well. There hasn’t been a lot of time to think about Christmas.

#britishflowers hour this week however did have a festive theme and some top tips about the types of things gardeners would like for Christmas.  It turns out we’re quite easy to buy for, and looking after our hands (and feet) were top priorities.

Here’s the round up from Sara Davison at The Handpicked Flower Company.

For gift ideas Carole (@TuckshopFlowers) posted a photo of a great idea, old fashioned bone china cup and saucer used as a pot to grow crocus. I think she sold a couple during the hour!

Clever and creative idea from Karen (@PeterNyssen)…..Order seeds/plants/trees/shrubs for delivery in the spring. Put photos of them inside a gardening magazine, put tea bags coffee and/or biscuits with it then wrap and deliver – a present for Christmas and another for the Spring!

Sara (@myflowerpatch) had a top tip for protecting hands when working on wreaths – if you can get hold of some old surgical needle holders to grip wire.

Hand creams, lotions and potions to sooth after a hard day potting, pricking out or more likely given the season, dealing with materials to make the most fabulous festive wreaths!


Body Shop – Hemp


Baby Bottom Butter

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream


The Wiltshire Beekeeper Orange and Honey – use at night as it’s a bit sticky but a great balm and a little goes a lomg way

And if we want to support our Twitter friends:

Handmade herb infused creams from Sian at @cookslaneherbs

Tip from me – I put on handcream, then thin disposable gloves and then gardening gloves – heat from hands means cream gets absorbed while you’re working

More protection suggestions in the form of gloves:

Wilko cheap seedling ones

Leather – although some stain your hands yellow when they get wet

Gold-Leaf leather gloves

Showa310 gloves

Thin fleece gloves from Tesco are great as garden glove liners



Aigle (look for neoprene lining)

‘Muck’ boots

Jack Wolfskin



Thick soled ‘farmer’s’ wellies

And remember to match boots with warm cosy socks – ski socks, alpaca wool etc

@cookcarlsson mentioned Finnish woollen underwear – see kauppa.ruskovilla.fi/pryhma/3

Suppliers – molevalleyfarmers were mentioned

Quick chat about pricing wreaths – between £20- £30 seemed to be common figure.

The school flower patch is coming along nicely. You’ll find out more at www.fitzgardeners.wordpress.com and starting the countdown to Christmas both at school and at home happens next week. It’s on the way. I know this because the John Rutter Christmas Album is on repeat play in the kitchen; there’s clove oil in the burner and ‘Love Actually’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ have come down from the attic DVD storebox.