My favourite Gardener’s Question Time panellist, Pippa Greenwood, shares a few of her simple festive pleasures that include heading out, spade in hand, to find the perfect Christmas tree; cooking for the people she loves and the ritual of unpacking age-old decorations each year. And if you’re looking for gift ideas for gardeners that will be really well received, Pippa has the perfect suggestions…
I love Christmas, always have and hope I always will. It is a very relaxed time of year. I make an art of NOT going anywhere on Christmas day as cooking for people I love is eminently preferable to sitting in a car. Having said that, the cooking is always quite full-on, especially since we have three strict veggies in our house and one meat-eater, friends and family of a wide range of eating persuasions and preferences and this year we’ll be adding a vegan to the mix too. So what do I love about it? Mainly people and the fact that no one is working. Combine that with a real Christmas tree (the classic Picea abies, the one with wonderfully aromatic needles, not the nasty grey-blue-greenish non-drop sort!), home-made chestnut stuffing and Christmas pudding and a glass or two of my sloe gin, what could be better?!
The tree is really important, not just the right sort but we always go to the local Christmas tree farm, usually Wylds Farm near Liss (above and below), armed with a spade to spend a ridiculously long time choosing just the most perfect tree we can find.
I love tree decorations too, adore indulging in a few new ones but also have some which we have had pretty well forever and which are unpacked with ceremony each year. We often make gingerbread biscuit decorations too – when the kids were small there were gingerbread houses, collapsing under the weight of excessive quantities of edible decorations.
I love to bring a bit of outdoors into the house at Christmas – we bag up some holly in the woods at least a month before Christmas day to ensure we have plenty to decorate the house and of course to make a wreath for the door, and for table decorations.
Choosing gifts for gardeners:
Gardeners are essentially practical people, so finding something useful is paramount. But useful that is also beautiful ticks two essential boxes. I don’t have a lot of time for the flimsy trug-filled gift sets for ‘gardeners’ that fill the shelves at this time of year. Many of them don’t contain anything I’d actually use. It’s a bit like the kids gardening sets with flower pots that don’t have any drainage holes!
Gardening tools, cloches, twine, gloves, plants, clothing all go down well. Or a gardening book to while away the winter evenings and provide inspiration for the year ahead. I’ve had some great gardening gifts over the years including a wheel barrow, a SpeedHoe (the best hoe I have ever used and I’ve now given several as presents!) bulbs… and a truck load of manure (well-rotted, of course!!)
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Think you know someone who would love to discover the joys of growing your own veg? Someone who might need a little help along the way? The solution is simple: the unique ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ system. You choose the vegetables you would like to grow from the range on offer (all tasty good-performing favourites of mine!)
The plants, all specially grown for me in Lincolnshire, UK, will be sent out to you as really good-sized garden-ready plants and at a perfect time for planting (approx early to mid-May)
Each week I’ll email with all you need to do with your chosen crops – starting with soil preparation and pre-planting advice and guiding you right through from planting to the best ways to harvest for maximum yield and best quality. Advice includes feeding, watering, staking/supporting, pinching out, thinning and of course, pest, disease and problem warnings and advice… and maybe the occasional recipe!
These unique emails are tailor-made to your chosen crops and as I grow the entire range myself too, I know what is really happening each week.
There are three packages to choose from, starting at £29 for 4 vegetable crop packs. If you can’t be there in person, my grow your own gift vouchers make a great postable option. Add a signed copy of my Gardener’s Calendar to any of the three voucher types and save £2 on the full retail price. GYO gift voucher for pack A, with a signed book costs £36.
Save 10% by entering discount code 12484-GHQOB at checkout. Valid until 28th Feb 2018.
A great gift choice for gardening lovers. The key is to go for something robust, well-made and with pockets roomy enough to keep twine, snippers and bits and pieces handy. It should also look good so you enjoy wearing it. Here are two of the best:
Love this Gardener’s Apron gift set by The Stitch Society. It’s available in a range of styles including demi or pinafore aprons, as well as three robust fabric choices that include dark blue denim, black denim and this stylish stripe. Each apron is made to order in Yorkshire and arrives beautifully packaged in a branded black gift box with tissue, orange ribbon and a spool of orange Nutscene garden twine. You really can’t go wrong…
These handsome aprons are hand made in Kent using a robust British-made black canvas as the base and a decorative pocket added in a range of Denys & Fielding’s own exclusive fabric designs. The pocket is good and roomy – big enough to keep your snips, secateurs and string handy. Favourite fabric choice is this one: Patsy. Well worth knowing that these lovely handmade aprons come gift wrapped in a box with tissue and ribbon at no extra charge.
A great idea. Do as the name suggests – and keep one by the back door. This sturdy bag is hand made in Norfolk and will hold enough hand tools, string and labels for those who love to grab every spare moment to nip into the garden for a quick bit of maintenance. Made with sturdy canvas and jute, it also has a pocket in the front for your mobile phone, so you can be ‘at your desk’ while dead heading the roses… Shortlisted at the Chelsea Flower Show as Garden Product of the Year.
The perfect treat for garden lovers. Enjoy a glass or two of the best English sparkling wine in the beautiful gardens of Sissinghurt Castle in Kent. You are free to wander the garden after it has closed to the public – a joy in itself. After a talk from Sarah, the evening finishes with a three course dinner and wine. There are currently four dates available to book in June 2018, tickets cost £120 a head.
The perfect stocking filler for green-fingered loved ones. You can never have too much good twine. These single hanging twine holders are available in a range of fabulous rainbow colours, perfect for hanging in a shed or looped onto a belt or apron. Love that each is an authentic bobbin that has been used in a working mill in the past – and now put to good use again.
How many times has what started out as an afternoon of gentle pruning in the garden ended with your arms scratched to ribbons? These handmade fully lined leather gardening gloves have a full 20cm saddle hide leather cuff which gives great protection against brambles and other sharp plants. Beautifully made and very durable, these gloves make the ideal long-lasting and arm-saving gift.
Ideal for anyone with a love of garden birds and an appreciation of great design. Made in Cornwall by Green and Blue, this simple and minimal design offers safe, year-round feeding for birds such as tits, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches. Available in a range of beautiful colours. Hours of pleasure to be had watching your feathered visitors come and go.
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