December Posy

My December Posy was my biggest challenge yet! There was virtually nothing in the garden to pick to make any sort of posy let alone produce something beautiful to photograph creatively. Due to family commitments and the start of a new job our garden has been left to it’s own devices. It was covered in a carpet of leaves and the seed heads, which had looked pretty in November, now looked tired, worn out and dead! I appreciated the symbolism. As my Uncle was approaching death I could see a beauty in the textures and muted colours of my seed heads. Now he has passed away that beauty has gone…Time for a tidy up and making way for new growth. I had a wonderful day after Christmas raking up leaves outside in the fresh air. Normally these would have been raked up into ship-shape order long ago in true Patsy Smiles organised fashion. I enjoyed getting outside after the excesses of Christmas. I saw the tiny heads of bulbs emerging and felt that everything was beginning to start a new. Lovely!

To get some much needed inspiration for my December Posy I visited my favourite local florist Fabulous Flowers and I also visited a garden centre which is new to me. Charlton Park Garden Centre is a family run enterprise which was founded by the Stevenson family in the 1950’s initially as a plant nursery and then as a retailer. I have just started a new job Managing Robert Stanley Optician’s in Grove and got chatting to one of Charlton Park’s employees. Jonathan was able to come up with some good ideas for Winter flowering shrubs which would provide me with the colour I needed. So off I went…

Patsy Smiles Dispensing Manager

Fabulous Flowers had some simple but classy Mason jars with decorative red and white bows. This proved the start of my inspiration. I was then inspired to buy red, silver and white decorations from Charlton Park to give work a festive feel. As the practice is largely white in colour this worked well.

Christmas @ Robert Stanley
Christmas @ Robert StanleyChristmas @ Robert Stanley


Christmas @ Robert Stanley


Christmas @ Robert Stanley

I loved the red and white gingham. I couldn’t find enough red berries at the garden centre so `foraged’ red cotoneaster berries from a tree in a neighbouring street after dark. They weren’t foraged from a garden, just a tree on the open street! I had been admiring the berries for weeks on my way to work.

Red Berries

I was extremely grateful for the bountiful red berries Yes I know they are meant to be picked from my garden according to my rules. However I’ve changed my rules to be able to complete my project! I am now allowing foraged leaves and berries, as long as they weren’t purchased in a ready made arrangement. That way I can still be creative even if the garden is a bit bare. I think the berries look spectacular in the jar I bought from Fabulous Flowers with the red gingham ribbon.

Happy New Year Berries

Vibrant Berries

I could have stopped there and called this December’s Posy. However I felt that I’d not utilised the shrubs in my garden. I added a few sneaky extras from Charlton Park Garden Centre to make up for the sparcity in our garden,  purchasing a reduced price pot grown Blue Spruce Christmas tree, Skimmia japonica shrub, dainty cyclamen coum  and a couple of hellebores.

Christmas Angel

We failed with Christmas this year and didn’t even get our pretty Christmas decs down from the loft! However this lovely little aromatic blue spruce should grow up to be just right for next year. I’m quite pleased I’m now ahead of the game and started Christmas planning! Hurrah! The angel decoration was given to me at a memorial service to remember my Uncle at the palliative care home. Unfortunately I dropped it in the middle of taking photos and the wings came off…oh well my Uncle was extremely fond of using aruldite glue to make do and mend! Fond memories.

We have no holly in the garden, but we do have ivy. I’m trying to cover the fence with ivy and a fence hugging hydrangea (sneakily). Mr Smiles likes to `maintain the fence’ and likes a clear run to use creosote for maintenance. Oh dear creosote and foliage don’t go together! The next house we move to will have to have a wild-life friendly hedge in addition to my dream art studio.

Christmas Ivy


My hellebores didn’t get going till February last year. However Charlton Park came up trumps. I purchased a couple of plants labelled Helleborus Gold Collection which sounded fancy.

`The term Helleborus Gold Collection®, abbreviated HGC, contains different varieties of Helleborus niger and hybrids, which are all propagated vegetatively.  The HGC varieties guarantee variety, identity and uniformity because of the propagation method. Each HGC variety must pass stringent criteria over several years before they are received into the Helleborus Gold Collection®.’

HGC Ice Breaker Max 

Cinnamon SnowIce Breaker Max

Large creamy white blooms with a fresh green blush and shiny dark green leaves.

HGC Cinnamon Snow

Cinnamon Snow

Pink buds which open to white flowers suffused with warm rose and cinnamon.

Skimmia japonica 

Skimmia japonica

This evergreen shrub was a wonderful find at the garden centre with her pinky/red terminal panicles. I knew this would provide a bit of welcome colour in my December arrangement.

I also purchased pretty pink cyclamen coum to go in pots with dainty viola. I knew they wouldn’t quite fit my colour scheme for December though.

Cyclamen Coum

December’s Posy ended up being a celebration of Christmas with an emphasis on red and green hues. I added in poppy seed heads which I had collected from the garden earlier in the year. I included dark viburnum berries, aromatic rosemary, cheerful rosehips and delicate papery Chinese Lantern skeletons.

Nature's Baubles

I was inspired by a table decoration I bought from Fabulous Flowers which I reworked with my own foliage including those wonderful vibrant red foraged berries.

December PosyDecember Posy


December’s Natural Hues were largely reds, greens and neutrals.

December Hues



December Mosaic


I hope you like December’s Posy. One more month to go and I have completed my challenge for a complete year. Better start planning January’s Posy!



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