Posted: Monday 17 December 2012
by James Alexander-Sinclair
Christmas is lurking just around the corner, like a well-oiled middle manager holding a sprig of mistletoe at an office party.
Christmas is lurking just around the corner, like a well-oiled middle manager holding a sprig of mistletoe at an office party. So, this is my last blog for Gardeners' World before we are all swept away on a breaking wave of tinselled overindulgence.
Most of you will be terribly well organised and will have bought environmentally immaculate Christmas presents well in advance. They will be wrapped and labelled and hidden on the top shelf of the airing cupboard - at least that is where my mother hid them when I was a child. You had to teeter on top of a chair in order to give them an exploratory squeeze. But just in case you have forgotten, this is my abbreviated guide to Christmas presents for gardeners (well, this gardener at any rate):
As I get older I find that, for me, the perfect Christmas present is either edible or useful. In the first category I include most chocolate provided it is quite expensive - although I can be bought for a packet of Revels and a mini-Mars Bar if you catch me in the right mood.
In the useful category I am extremely fond of socks, which I know is a bit of a cliche, but they are very dull things to buy oneself. My sons are of an age where they snaffle my socks almost the minute they come out of the package. The solution to this is to have lots in unmistakable patterns. Black socks are a free-for-all, striped ones are only stolen by the brazen.
The second useful item is string. Ideally tarred string because it smells interesting: a mixture of road mender and Nelsonian seaman. I find that I cannot have too much of it, mainly because I tend to leave it lying around in unsuitable places or other people’s gardens. It is also seasonally apt - hence the Cliff Richard classic Mistletoe and Twine.
The third thing is a small border fork - mine has just snapped in half. So if you are feeling generous...