"I’ve got a feeling this year’s for me and you …I can see a better time, when all our dreams come true"
If there’s one song guaranteed to get me feeling Christmassy, it’s the Pogues’ epic Fairytale of New York. I thought of fairytales while visiting the market this week – there’s reminders everywhere.
Playing card love-heart picks for Alice in Wonderland;
twinkling trees for The Ice Queen;
Narnia’s frost-covered branches; Snow White’s waxed red apples (and every other colour too);
Lara’s giant polar bears; Santa’s tiny reindeer.
Here’s a handsome hero for our tale – D&G’s new blue-green foliage, Ilex "Blue Prince" (I bet he has a smart uniform too.)
Although part of the holly family, this one feels more like a light spanking from a feather duster, than being whipped with chains. If you see what I mean.
Also at D&G, the gorgeous toffee-brown rose "Coffee Break".
If you’re looking for Leonidas, try it out. It’s got the same deep fake-tan colour, but without any reddishness.
Tall and tanned and young and germini, "Robin Hood" - a fairytale of sorts – on B.A.D. Flowers.
I interrupted B (or was it D?) in the midst of bouquet bunching. These bloom-n-berry beauties are destined for Nando’s restaurants.
Who knew they were so upmarket? Apparently they’d even asked for more flower choice. D (or was it B?) replied "you offer something other than chicken, and I’ll offer something other than blooms"…!
Southern Hemisphere sunshine is everywhere, as they’re revelling in summer (well most are; Sydney seems to be drowning in rainstorms lately). Leucospermums, proteas (including D&G’s splendid red-breasted "Robijn"),
and peonies - mostly from Chile, like Hardcastle’s, in five colours.
It seems so wrong, as they are such a symbol of summer; and yet so right, as everyone loves them so much. Eric from John Austin cautions that while these Antipodean beauties were £1/stem last winter, they are more like £1.75/stem this year, due to rocketing fuel, freight and shipping charges.
Jeff on Boomerang tells me pre-made wreaths and seasonal tchotchkes are going very well.
Now I’ve heard of a tasty American cocktail called a Poinsettia, so I was hoping for a pre-breakfast snifter, but no joy - this can’s a growing kit in novelty packaging. Better for the liver. If you need ready-grown poinsettias, there’s plenty of those, of course.
Talking of novelty, all kinds of shiny baubles, twinkly lights, and glitzy things on sticks are here.
Strictly Come Dancing would be right at home; even the walkways are dusted in glitter.
A big shout out to Dave’s Wife, who must have spent several hours swaying in a cherry picker, to produce this impressive ceiling display over the GB Foliage stand.
Dave’s not one for artificial sparkles, as we know, but this certainly gets you in a party mood. As does the vibrant rose "Yazoo", like a rasher of streaky bacon. (For younger readers: Yazoo were a two-piece pop combo of the early 80s. Ask your mum.)
There’s Christmas pine trees in hairnets, ready for contracts – and for the public.
After all, central London is pretty low on forestry plantations and garden nurseries, so where else do residents go for their annual tree? Pratley’s man-in-the-know tells me these Danish non-drops are the best price.
If you just want this Christmas palaver to be over, spring’s in! Italian anemones (£20/wrap now, less later on); early ranunculus; hyacinths; tulips all kinds – including the tall French ones; and pussy willow - like this giant, with Eric.
Try and hold out a little while though; it doesn’t do to wish your life away. Enjoy the shiny sparkly colour of Christmas while you can.
RIP Jane Packer 1959-2011.