HAVING an allotment is not all about the edible stuff you grow, it's also the flowers and amazing seed heads you can collect too. For the past few years I've dumped the tinsel on my tree, long gone are the baubles; now we decorate our tree with the amazing things we find on our allotment.

Cardoons and dried artichoke flowers look stunning amongst the pine needles. I save my sunflower heads and make patterns by removing the seeds and giving them a little spray with varnish to keep them in place.

Even little bunches of dried herbs look and smell fabulous hung on the tree or around doors. Obviously we 'have' to have pine cones and acorns, so I collect them whilst walking my dog around Rivvy. My daughter collects feathers she finds to hang on the tree too.

If you're lucky enough to have a holly bush why not make your own holly wreath? I'm really looking forward to using my dried multi-coloured corn cobs, they are so pretty and I know will look amazing on my Christmas tree.

The nice thing about collecting Christmas decorations from your allotment for your tree and home is they are unique. All it takes is a bit of imagination, so ditch the tinsel and the plastic ornaments and have a try at having you own 'home grown' deccies this weekend.

My allotment to do list:

If you haven't got around to it yet prune Autumn raspberries.

Also don't forget to prune gooseberries, red and white currents now whilst it's dormant, you want it to be open in the middle to allow the air to circulate to help against mildew.

Give your sprouts a bit of a hand by staking them in, to protect against the wind as their tops can get heavy.

Get planting those bare root plants now before the ground freezes up.

If you're using a paraffin heater do keep an eye on them every day, firstly to check the wick but also in case something falls from a nearby shelf that might cause a fire.

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