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Time was when you could venture out from the warmth of your fireside, dog in tow and gather the fruits of forest and field, woodland and riverbank to adorn your home for Christmas.
But for many of us foraging is a little difficult, certainly in the quantities you need to decorate a whole home.
So, if you don’t happen to own a woodland and are a little worried about taking foliage from the countryside around you it’s good to know that The Woodland Trust – Coed Cadw in Wales – allows personal foraging in its all its woods, that’s over 1000 across the UK. You can find a woodland near you here and their wonderful guide to responsible foraging here. While you are there it’s worth catching up on the work of Coed Cadw, who no doubt will be eager for your support, both practical and financial.
Of course, for those in cities or where the quantities of foliage required would damage the countryside there are the wholesale flower markets. Sadly, these are on the decline. Cardiff lost its flower market years ago. Maybe yours is still there.
But if you are anywhere near London, or fancy an overnight smash and grab raid, New Covent Garden Market could be the answer.
The market dates back to 1670 and until 1974 was located in the heart of Covent Garden itself. Since then it’s been in Nine Elms near Wandsworth alongside the fruit and veg market and today serves 75% of all the florists in London.
Prepare to get up very early to get the freshest selection and the best choice as the market opens at 4am, though arriving at about 7am will still offer you an amazing selection.
And console yourself with the thought of a car packed to the airbags with the delicious smell of pine, eucalyptus, rosemary, ivy and moss as you head home.
New Covent Garden Market is open to everyone from 4am to about 10am.
However you find the foliage you need, enjoy bringing all that wonderful outside in this Christmas.