December flowers

I have just snuck this in before the end of the year.

This is one of my perch-on-the-hotel-bed postings where you are not madly comfortable… but I don’t want to lose the habit of 2023.

I don’t know if you have noticed that I managed a post on all the flower bouquets I made each and every month.

And December is no exception, even if the majority of the flowers in the garden are hibernating. Expect for these last two gorgeous roses. Please don’t ask me… I don’t think it’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. No, wait… oh yes, Munstead Wood.

I am still hailing the unheralded viburnum tinus as the florist’s friend for the excellent berries it produces at this time of year. And its stiff flowers and stalks. But the yucky photinia Red Robin actually yielded some nice red berries on stiff stalks too this year. So that’s great.

And I have even raided more of the eucalyptus branches which is still great. Most of the young ecucalpyts are under fleece in the potting shed or shrouded in mulch. But the one I grew a few years ago in front of the potting shed is still alive. (Such a relief). It hasn’t had a ‘proper winter’ yet. So I’m not complacent.

This month is of course Christmas wreath production. Here I am working on the table under the vines.

My garden table is just too cluttered and the light level is too low inside.

And I am so pleased that the stalwart Dahlia Sylvia still dries just as well as ever.

I start with circlets of the wild clematis vines which I ‘harvest’ after rain in the jungle of abandoned forest lower down the mountain. They climb metres up into the old chestnut trees. One firm yank on a vine and you can get a few metres of the stuff.

A lot of the time you can twist the younger vines into circles without them snapping. But after rain is always best. And then they sit for months waiting for the Season.

I wrap long tendrils of ivy around first. Then add in snipped yew branches, viburnum tinus, and then just about anything I can find.

I aim to have a wreath that can be chucked onto the compost heap once it has desiccated. And as a lot of the sedum ‘flowers’ are already desiccated they don’t look out of place in among the dying matter in the corner of the potager.

I did save a lot of the wonderful achillea flowers from early summer; so this year’s theme was predominantly orange and yellow.

For our house I went for a bit windswept and interesting with the birch branches shoved into the wreath at a jaunty angle… (Is that how you spell jaunty? It looks wrong).

And some of the stiffer amaranth stalks did a good job of sitting well. I had plenty of hydrangeas this year for drying, but these ones above did not keep their colour, alas.

I gave this one for the front door of the house as I had too many left over yew prunings. The dear shrub is impinging on a path and I have to hack back each year. Perfect for the wreaths.

And the vases of flowers had a predominantly foliage theme. Except I used the clever two pot technique. One big vase with a smaller one inside. The fresh foliage went in the centre and I was able to add in the dried flowers around the outside. And shove shorter dried flowers in among the greenery.

And some bouquets were mainly herb posies. Lots of bay, rosemary and thyme for the friends who I knew were doing mass catering and might not want to nip out into the cold and raid the shrubs.

Indoors I did more prunings and random bits of garden offcuts. Olive branches and the easy to reach pine branches from a fallen tree.

I eschewed the actual Christmas tree look and went for maximum green draped all over the living room instead.

I must remember to put all the tiny dried dahlia flowers which lost their stalks into the Christmas decoration box next year. That would add more pops of colour in among the green.

Next post —- holidays! I am in Girona.

Happy New Year to you all.