A Potting Shed Christmas

Reading time 7 minutes


If you’ve not put two and two together yet, I’ll let you into a little secret: when I am not writing this blog and working in my garden, you’ll find me buying Christmas decorations, food and hampers for a well-known department store. At work they call me Mr Christmas rather than The Frustrated Gardener. I’m happy to answer to either. The day job keeps me safely out of mischief, permanently covered in glitter and in imminent danger of falling into a chocolate coma. (My waist measurement has had to remain top-secret since I started five years ago.) Despite what you may think, buying for Christmas is a full-on, year-round role which, at this time of the year, pretty much takes over my life. Blogging is done in transit; in airport lounges, on trains and from hotel rooms wherever work takes me.



For the last three weeks I have been living out of a small suitcase, travelling around the UK to source next year’s products. Stretching in front of me are another four weeks of trains, planes and automobiles, carrying me as far as Belgium and Holland, but sadly not to the USA this year. I can live with that, thanks to a very kind colleague who picked up the 2018 edition of the Snow & Graham wall calendar, an iteration of which I’ve displayed at home for over 15 years.



Although the constant travelling is quite disruptive for me personally, it gets me out to other parts of the country, where I often pick up inspiring ideas for my Christmas decorations at home. At Newbank Garden Centre at Radcliffe in Lancashire, my attention was instantly drawn to a clever display of green and natural decorations arranged in a potting shed setting. Last Christmas I adorned my unfinished garden room with a similar collection of greenery and ornaments, including an old green step-ladder, tools and a pair of brick-red boots. I would have expanded on the theme this year, were it not for the burgeoning jungle that’s grown up in its place. No room for a tree there this year, but I will still hang decorations from the ceiling, and perhaps scatter some fake snow on the floor. I will soon regret that when it gets trodden into the library carpet.



The visual merchandising team at Newbank always do an outstanding job of dressing their trees and creating little areas of magic in their garden centres. I especially admired the discipline of using a single colour, the use of faux ivy cascading down the tree (real ivy would look better, but only for 5 minutes) and the casual way rustic containers were filled with artificial, yet natural-looking stems. It was not an ostentatious, spangly look, nor too pared-back. Little details, like the broken terracotta pot with compost spilling from it, gave the impression a mischievous cat had just exited the potting shed stage right.



A potting shed theme would be very easy to achieve at home, and feels highly appropriate for an enthusiastic gardener. It’s a theme one could comfortably build on from one year to the next, and would look all the better for mixing in some fresh elements, be they airplants, succulents, or fresh-cut greenery from the garden. I am coveting several decorations I’ve bought for my shops this year, including a miniature glass greenhouse, a bundle of mossy pine cones and some plain, light-gold, glittered baubles. There’s even a soft gold tinsel with oak leaves instead of the usual skinny strands of foil. Happily, in my job I don’t need an excuse to buy as many Christmas decorations as I like, if only I can find the time to shop. TFG

Get the Potting Shed Look


Handmade wooden garden trug, Waitrose Garden
Glass greenhouse ornament, John Lewis
Moss wreath, John Lewis
LED vine lights, John Lewis
Glittered green pine cone trio, John Lewis
75cm burlap tree, John Lewis
Frosted, mossy stag’s head, John Lewis
Light-gold glittered baubles, John Lewis



Categories: Christmas, Foliage, Musings, Plants, Uncategorized

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

Greetings Garden Lover! Welcome to my blog. Plants are my passion and this is my way of sharing that joyful emotion with the world. You'll find over 1000 posts here featuring everything from abutilons to zinnias. If you've enjoyed what you've read, please leave a comment and consider subscribing using the yellow 'Follow' button in the bottom, right-hand corner of your screen. You will receive an email every time I post something new.

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17 comments On "A Potting Shed Christmas"

  1. What fun! I share these two enthusiasims with you, gardening and Christmas decorations. They make for a lovely combination. All your travel must be hard, though, as it conflicts with your own gardening and decorating. Thank you for keeping up with your reports at such a busy time!

    1. Yes, you are spot on there, it does always feel like everything comes at once. I physically can’t manage all the things I’d like to do, so it’s just as well I have a fantastic team to stop me collapsing into a big pool of glittery brandy butter …. actually that sounds quite appealing now I think about it 😉

    1. Thanks Lisa, glad you like the potting shed chic. I’m always on the look out for ideas and anything that will sit well in my house. What I really want to do one day is a Willow Pattern Christmas, complete with ceramic baubles, oriental ornaments and frosted willow stems.

  2. I love the glass greenhouse ornament. Have a nice pre Christmas time, Dan. Thanks for that post. And find some time for doing the shopping for your own pleasure together with Alex. 😊

    1. Thanks Paul. My pre-Christmas time is a bit hectic. I get my rest from December 23rd 🙂 I already have one greenhouse ornament, which is very delicate and intricate, but I could always make room for another!

  3. Wonderful ideas, if my potting shed were tidy enough I would decorate it accordingly. How lovely to see lots of green and silver, I have decorations in those colours dating back years. I still have a few tulip bulbs to plant up, I did get my order from J Parker’s and am determined to get them all done by the end of the month.

    1. Me too. I’m half way through mine. I’ve taken Monday off to plant tulips and start decorating the house for Christmas. I have to do it early for a photoshoot 🙄. Green is one of the ‘in’ colours for this year, so consider yourself cool and trendy.

  4. Such a stormy day here I spent most of it in shed, thus all tulip bulbs (6 varieties), 50 Narcissis ‘Elka’, 100 Puschkinia libanotica, Iris reticulata (2 varieties), Ipheion ‘Jessy’ and a few more bits all planted. By the end of November, a record. Now I just need the mice to leave things alone. It will also most probably be the only time I am trendy with the decorations, too. Happy planting!

  5. Not quite my favourite style, but stunning indeed.
    Didn’t realise your job brief included chocolate, too. Any apprenticeships on offer???
    Hope the current gales won’t do much damage over at yours! We are really tucked away and sheltered, but it still sounds scary.

    1. It was mayhem when I went to bed last night and lashing it down this morning. I left home at 5am and there was no damage at that time, apart from to my quiff!

      Yes, confectionery is a significant responsibility 😱 I don’t actually eat chocolate outside work as it doesn’t do much for me. I know a good choccie when I taste one though 😋

  6. Reading your lovely post here on Thanksging Eve here in the U.S. More then a little envious of your day job! You’ve given me such inspiration to decorate my tiny greenhouse for the Holidays. Thank you and happy travels!

  7. I just saw you at the hairdressers…

    There I was, flicking through a magazine, and there you were beaming out at me. Very fetching, Mr Christmas.

    A willow pattern Christmas would be stunning. Shall stand by in hope. Ceri

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