An Open Letter to Santa


Dear Santa,

You may think I’m getting a bit old for this malarkey, but in my head I am still in my teens so I hope you’ll forgive me for writing this letter. It’s been a while, so I hope life is good and that you’ve had a restful summer. Like you, I am horribly busy at this time of year so I thought I’d get in early and give the elves plenty of time to track down everything on my wish list. If you do happen to be in a certain department store over the next few weeks I hope you like what I’ve done with the seasonal fayre – you’ve been a big inspiration yet again. Despite the popularity of Click & Collect I think you’re job’s pretty safe, that is unless you’re privatised. Fortunately you move rather faster than Royal Mail and even Amazon can’t catch you. Thank goodness for those turbo-charged reindeer, they deserve a medal.

Paper House Letter to Santa Charity Cards

I have tried to be good through 2014, but admit I have fallen some way short of perfect. I have not, hand on heart, pilfered cuttings or seeds from anyone’s garden and have carefully nurtured any plants I’ve been gifted. Some of them even have names. My eyes are still bigger than my stomach when it come to nurseries, and so plants are one thing I really don’t need this year, or any other year for that matter. I fed the birds until they made such a mess of the terrace that I had to stop. In return we’ve been rewarded with a burgeoning population of collared doves and sparrows. I have been easy on the insecticide but a little gung-ho with the slug pellets. What can I say? I am sure if you have a garden you will understand. On occasion I have been a bit grumpy, overtired and not as kind as I could have been, but promise to make up for it next year.

Daphne and Dudley, ring-necked doves

At this point in my life I want for very little. (You will have guessed by now how far from teenage I really am.) Consequently my list is full of luxuries I would never buy for myself, but would genuinely cherish. First of all tools – anything made by Sneeboer would be much appreciated, but I am flush for Felco secateurs right now, thanks all the same. One can never have enough trowels, especially when Him Indoors treats them like plant markers and leaves them dotted around outside in all weathers.

Sneeboer Tools

I would love a flashy camera, as I am under the delusion that better equipment will mean I take better pictures. I should really take a photography course instead, but just don’t have the time. I’m a Canon man, just in case you were wondering. Might I ask that a memory card is included, as I have a habit of leaving them plugged into the side of my laptop?

Canon 5D Mark 3

A greenhouse is top of my list. I am sure everyone’s fed up with me banging on about it, but having had one at the age of 14 I feel I have taken a backward step at the point when those numbers have been reversed in order. That first greenhouse, a temple of propagation, was metal-framed and covered with polythene. I’d want this one to last, so would prefer teak or cedar if you can run to it. On second thoughts, put this request on hold for a year or two when hopefully we’ll have moved somewhere with more space. I guarantee I will have sorted out my grumpiness by then.

Hartley Botanic Victorian classic glasshouses1

I hope you don’t feel I am being greedy, but I am known for being a man with expensive tastes. One must maintain standards at all times, although I have been known to let things slip on Boxing Day. Those photographs are safely out of harm’s way lest my impeccable reputation be tarnished.

Do please let me know if you have any special requests for Christmas Eve. Him Indoors is a dab hand with shortcrust, mincemeat and icing sugar, and I like to keep a very comprehensive drinks cabinet. We had eleven different gins at the last count, which even concerns me slightly. We don’t have a chimney, but will leave the back door on the latch. I hope you like what we’ve done with the garden since you dropped by last year – it’s been long overdue – although alas no carrots for Rudolph to munch whilst he’s waiting (we don’t allow bare hooves indoors).

Wishing you all the very best for the festive season

The Frustrated Gardener.

P.S. Him Indoors would like a new garden bench, but we can’t agree on one we like or where to put it. I usually get my own way, but as I’ll never get time to sit on it I’ll let him explain what he’d like.

Alex at Mottisfont, May 2013