Happy Christmas Everyone!

I’ve escaped from the house for half an hour. There’s two dozen mince pies in a tin. All my cooking is done. Icing sugar is liberally sprinkled all over the kitchen table. But clearing up can wait. I need to get outside into the garden. Surely, no one will miss me for 30 minutes…..

I’ve been saving crab apples for Christmas decorations. There’s Red Sentinel, Jelly King, Transitoria, and the common malus sylvestris which grows wild in hedgerows around here.

I’m trying to use less plastic and wire in the garden. So as an experiment I’m using cocktail sticks to secure my apples. I’m not using floral foam either. Flowers can be tucked into little glass jars and test tubes. Foliage can be woven into willow. It just takes a bit of forward planning. And I’m pleased with the results.

Wild clematis, old man’s beard, highlights the rosy red apples and rosehips. Such a joy to use what’s to hand in the garden. Within a few minutes I’ve gathered everything I need.

I planted dozens of rosa canina when we made a garden here and rosehips are plentiful this year. I never take all of them from one place. Always leave some for the birds. They’ll need them to get through a cold wet winter.

My willow and crab apple wreath cheers up the summerhouse for Christmas. I’ve heaped woollen blankets in there and created a little library of favourite books. A peaceful place to rest and survey the garden birds. We’ve plenty of robins and blackbirds in the garden. They will be looking for nesting sites soon. Behind the summerhouse, the fields lie fallow this year. It’s been too wet to plough and sow any winter crops. Winter barley and wheat would usually be providing bright green shoots by now. It’s sad to see the ground so waterlogged and unproductive. However, birds and mammals are finding ‘leavings’ from the summer crops. Today we saw 300 field fares land in the field. They must be finding left over seeds and grains.

This is the field gate we walk through as we set off across the back fields. There’s a footpath along the hedgerow. Usually, there’s only us rambling along, but at Christmas the lane attracts a great many walkers. I like to decorate all the garden gates with willow and foliage. It only takes a few minutes to twist six willow stems into a heart and wind in some holly and garrya elliptica. Some dried hydrangea Annabelle makes a focal point, and hides the string tying everything together. Three crab apples glow yellow in the afternoon sunshine. It’s a constantly changing arrangement as birds peck at the hydrangea and apples. I don’t mind. It’s wonderful to watch them enjoying the juicy fruit. I can easily add some more. I enjoy the birds as much as the arrangements to be honest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s walk around my garden. Thank you for all your lovely, kind and encouraging comments all year. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. See you in 2020, when there will be some exciting new developments at bramble garden to show you. Enjoy your gardening as well as your festivities. Now, back to the icing sugar and that messy kitchen table….. there’s trifles still to make. And Christmas puddings to steam.

35 thoughts on “Happy Christmas Everyone!

  1. That must be nice to have access to wild Malus sylvestris. There are four unidentified crabapples on the farm, but crabapples are otherwise rare. Flowering crabapples make tiny fruit that should be good for jelly, but I have not tried it. I considered growing a flowering crabapple that makes larger fruit, but I don’t need more crabapples than the four old fruit trees provide.

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  2. Karen your willow wreath and crab apples to decorate your Summer House I love: with old beard, wild clematis, rose hips … It is divine. I really like that you have made a winter shelter with the Summer House filling it with blankets and a good library from which to enjoy robins, blackbirds and other birds in your garden: I love birds just like you. I love the decoration of the fence: the heart of willow with holly, hydrangea and crab apples that birds eat. I hope you had a very happy Christmas day. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Wonderful New Year 2020 full of love and in which all your wishes come true. ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽโœจ Thank you very much Karen for the walk in your garden has been wonderful. Much love and health to all of yours, including Grace and Meg. With much love for my good friend Karen, Very Loving Greetings from Margarita xxx

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    • Thank you Margarita. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. Letโ€™s hope 2020 is happy and cheerful for us. Iโ€™ve taken up singing- which combined with walking is very good for the soul. You canโ€™t really be sad if you are singing something with a happy tune. My grandfather used to whistle. Iโ€™ve tried that, but Iโ€™m hopeless at it. So singing it will be. And lots of walking. Today, I planted 200 daffodils in the wild garden. There was a woodpecker telling me off for being in his wood, so I worked quickly and then left him in peace. So lovely to have woodpeckers in the garden. Affectionate greetings from us all. Much love, karen xxx


      • Karen your garden is wonderful: having woodpeckers and you as always trying not to disturb the animals in your gardening tasks. I love 200 daffodils: when they bloom in spring it will be magnificent and they also naturalize very well, at least in my garden they are 10 years ago and there are four times more than I planted. Thank you for the idea: humming happy songs because I didn’t whistle either and my dear Father whistled phenomenally. And walk. A very good combination to not be sad. Happy New Year 2020 for your whole family, for Mr B, for your daughters and for you. And also for Grace and Meg. May you all be very happy in this year and have a lot of health. With all my love for all, very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

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  3. Your natural arrangements are delightful, as always, Karen. I trust you had a joyful family Christmas and were able to weave absent friends and family into your celebrations. Glad that you were feeling well enough again to do so too

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    • Thank you Cathy. We had a wonderful Christmas and everything went to plan, thank goodness. We also did an early Christmas Day at the care home which was happy, and sad at the same time. The lovely staff put Christmas carols on the music system and we all took some home made food. Hope you had a lovely day too. Love karen x


      • That’s good to hear, Karen. We were at my Mum’s again as it would have been my younger sisters’s ‘turn’ to visit, and she very much appreciated us being there – but we are home birds really and it’s so good being home again

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    • Thank you Amelia. Itโ€™s really easy to make. Just six twigs, held in the middle. Bend three and tie in the centre. Swop hands and bend the other three and tie in. Good luck. Dogwood is bendy enough if you havenโ€™t got thin willow. Xx

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    • Thank you Suella. Iโ€™ve survived the catering conundrums! Honestly itโ€™s like plate spinning getting everything to the table hot and perfectly cooked. Will be someone elseโ€™s job next year! I hope xx Happy Christmas too xx


  4. Your outdoor arrangements are lovely. The footpath walkers will enjoy your art, and I love it that you don’t mind sharing with the birds. Happy Christmas!!!

    My Christmas pudding is ready for tomorrow. Having one on Christmas day has been our family custom since we lived in England. A dear neighbor there shared her recipe. Americans especially enjoy the flaming and the brandy butter.

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