Hi, I’m Lorna Ko and I’ve been a gardening guest presenter at QVC UK for 6 years. I also present on QVC USA, Italy and France and have been in The Telegraph and Amateur Gardening with some of my top garden decor and water feature tips.
I’m a single parent and also a reporter for our local TV station called Chiswickbuzz TV in West London, so I am always out and about keeping busy! My dad is Japanese and my mum is English, so I’ve grown up surrounded by classic English gardens on one side, and amazing zen gardens on the other.
I am really looking forward to sharing my top tips and garden decorating advice with you!
Christmas dreams: it’s all about the preparation!
As well as a joyous time, the festive season can also be quite stressful when you are running around and getting all the food and drink in, putting the decorations up and planning what gifts to get people.
Last Christmas I got so stressed I suffered an optical migraine for the first time in my life, and had to lie in a dark room for a few hours after trying to find a last minute griddle pan for my sister and her partner!
So to help make your Christmas as stress free and as joyful as possible I thought I’d jot down some of my top tips for the garden and beyond to help you have a cool yule and not a festive fiasco!
Prepare and plan:
Buying gifts ahead of time can make it a lot easier than trying to cram everything into the last shopping weekend before Christmas so here are some of my must have Christmas gift ideas for this year:
A great gift for a garden lover is the Bernini Petalo Fountain.
I love representing Bernini products as they are so unique and original. The Bernini Fountain range run off a high capacity rechargeable battery meaning you can use your fountain in the day or night and in the light or shade as no solar power, plumbing or wiring in is required.
The Petalo is the first design which can be integrated into flowerbeds and I had great fun designing the set around the Petalo Fountains when we launched them last month. I chose to go for a riot of colour but they look equally stunning next to verdant green hedges or darker green foliage.
Another gift for those who love spending time outdoors is the Plow & Hearth Feather Garden Windspinner. It’s been designed to look like floating feathers and at just under two metres tall adds a wonderful colour burst to any garden or balcony.
I love the idea of gifts which bring pleasure all year round and this and the Petalo fountain are items which enchant and delight through all the seasons.
For those who love the scent of their gardens then Liz Earle does some gorgeous perfumes including the Botanical Essence No. 9, which has scents of blackcurrant, rose, vetiver and ginger giving a rich and warming scent – ideal for the colder months ahead!
Sit back and relax:
In the run up to Christmas you may find yourself short on time when it comes to cooking some comfort food for those chiller evenings. This is where I find my Cooks Essentials soup maker comes into its own. I literally throw in some vegetables, water and stock, press and button and hey presto! In just 24 minutes I have piping hot, fresh homemade soup! I particularly like celery, potato and cream!
I hope these top tips help you prepare ahead for Christmas this year so you can take some well deserved time out and enjoy a cracking Christmas!
Lorna’s guest this month:
When it comes to giving someone an extra special gift for Christmas you can’t beat giving a live plant which they can enjoy for Christmas and then the rest of the year too. I asked Hayloft expert David Ponton to tell us some more about the gardening product of the month – the stunning Rebecca Daphne plant:
‘Say it with flowers’ is one of the most memorable advertising slogans ever created… and how true it is! For centuries men and women have been declaring love, happiness, friendship, thanks, sorrow and apology using flowers. The beauty of a flower expresses thoughts and feelings which are sometimes difficult to say using just words. Over the years different plants and flowers, have been imbued with different meanings and symbolisms. As we move into winter here’s what a few of the most popular seasonal gift plants mean:
Amaryllis: the Amaryllis symbolises harmony with others. If it is a red amaryllis then it is a gift from the heart.
Azalea: Azaleas represent first love and passion. To be surrounded by azaleas is to remember the tenderness and sweetness of your first love… and to attract romance into your life!
Camellia: A Camellia is the symbol you see the recipient as a vision of loveliness. Just like the flower, soft and breath-taking.
Daphne: Though the Daphne is not given as often as it should be, it is a remarkable flower full of meaning.
Daphne Odora Rebecca is one of the earliest and most stunning winter flowering shrubs. Best for structure, colour, fragrance with an extra wide creamy-yellow margin to the emerald green leaves. In December clusters of small buds open to reveal highly scented pink flowers to brighten up gardens all spring, summer and through until the end of autumn.
Discovered in Devon during the late 1980’s by nurseryman Steven Watson, it took over 15 years for them to become available and Hayloft Plants have most of the stock in the world. What does giving or growing a Daphne mean? Daphne conveys the meaning of sweetness, honesty and the blessing of a new-born life.
This life isn’t just a baby’s life. Because the plant is in flower in January, the Daphne symbolises a new you at the start of each year. Onwards into the new year, full of joy, smiles and good intentions, enjoying the perfume and colour of your Daphne… and how appropriate it is QVC’s Gardening Pick of the Month for November?
What I’ve been up to this month:
As usual I’ve been pretty hectic! I went down to Eastbourne to visit my Mum a few weeks ago and we visited an amazing stretch of coastline called the Birling Gap which has some stunning cliff top views.
I also did a Christmas photo and video shoot for the local TV channel I report for, to get ready for the festive season ahead which was a bit surreal in October!
My son and I also spent some time with my dad on his allotment which was great. We harvested his first crop of potatoes and they tasted delicious just simply boiled with some butter, salt and pepper.
After that it was Halloween and bonfire night so my son and I visited this fabulous venue called Tulley’s Farm down in Sussex with my friend Jo and her daughter Izzy and it was fantastic fun – they had a tractor ride where you sit on this big trailer and go round the woods whilst various actors dressed as different characters jump out and join you on the trailer!
They also had a creepy cottage with actors dressed as friendly witches and a mind boggling maize maze. Jonathan Ross tweeted that he was going so we thought if it’s good enough for him we should give it a go!
On Halloween night itself we went trick or treating with my friend Marianne and her family. Marianne is a make-up artist for the BBC and she did some scary face-paint for us all. I didn’t want to take it off at the end of the night!
That’s it for this month. I hope you have had a great November and see you soon!
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