How Christmas is made at Berrington Hall

Berrington's entrance pathway hedges decorated as Christmas puddings

Each year at Berrington Christmas can only be done with the help of our volunteers. They work tirelessly to ensure that we are ready for the season. We want to share with you what they get up to.

There volunteers here at Berrington work months in advance to make sure that Berrington is looking its best for the festive season. With plenty of flowers being dried out months in advance to make the traditional garland, the showcase Christmas cake being made and finally the ‘Christmas Puddings’ for the main path is created.

These are just some of the dried flowers from Berrington
Dried flowers from Berrington

We wanted to share with you some of this work. We asked Amanda Sanders to tell us about how the Christmas Puddings are made for the pathway and she gave us a very creative answer.

If you look below Amanda has written a ‘recipe’ describing how the puddings are made, we hope you enjoy:

Recipe created by Amanda and Margaret, following a light-bulb idea moment from Nick Winney, Head Gardener.  Amanda and Margaret are now hoping that he has no more such bright ideas….

Ingredients:

64 metres of heavy-duty white horticultural fleece

Approx 240 little tape loops

Approx 240 little pieces of green wire

5ft-wide roll of green sticky-backed plastic

Approx 20 metres stiff wire

57 metres of florists’ tape

32 red baubles

Reels and reels of duct tape

8 bamboo canes

About ten clothes pegs

Also required:

1 tallish person

Method:

Note: puddings can be pre-prepared during early autumn, then are best served mid-November, usually when the weather is particularly cold, wet and windy.

Make the brandy sauce with the horticultural fleece.  To avoid drowning in it, try to pass some of this work off onto another volunteer (thank you, Sue!).

Iron the brandy sauce.

Sew 240 little tape loops to the brandy sauce, then add the 240 little bits of wire.

Model festive leaf-shapes out of wire and sticky-backed plastic, and edge with the 57 metres of florists’ tape.  Then retire to a dark corner to mutter to oneself until sanity is restored.

Mix together one bamboo cane, three leaves, three baubles and duct tape until they look right. Repeat a further seven times.

Assembling the puddings:

Wear warm, weather-proof clothes.  Take one decorated cane and a generous helping of brandy sauce, and with the aid of tall person + clothes pegs, and all those wired loops, affix to a pre-pruned round yew bush. After finishing four of these, retire to thaw frozen fingers around mug of something very warming, then finish the other four.

The puddings have a shelf life of about three years, and are best served in the open air.  They are, actually, totally inedible.  But they look quite good…