Not Just for Christmas, Christmas Drink, Festive Feathers, Exseedingly Good Presents & Christmas Containers

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail
8th December 2018
Not Just for Christmas …

‘Living Christmas trees’ have become increasingly fashionable with ethically minded consumers, who don’t like the idea of throwing away tree in the New Year.  The concept is to replant the tree in the garden each new year, and then dig it up, pot it up with soil and bring it indoors for the next festive season.  It’s a nice idea but seldom as ‘green’ as it sounds as the roots inevitably get damaged and the extreme change in temperature (and often lack of water) can stress the tree too.

If you would rather a ‘real tree, which keeps on living after Christmas, then consider a tree that is actually grown in a pot.  And of course keep it well watered and away from heat sources like radiators and wood burners.

If you feel strongly about not having a cut Christmas tree, then maybe consider decorating a tree or shrub outside in your garden, which can be seen from key windows.

Or make your own alternative indoor tree like I did last year for a client (see photo). Simply use small branches for the frame and dress with fairy lights and Christmas baubles.

Christmas Drink

If choosing a cut real Christmas tree, remember that more than half its weight will be water, so keeping it in water indoors is the most effective way of maintaining it’s freshness and minimizing needle loss. Apparently most Christmas trees went up last weekend, so 5 weeks in a hot house is a long time to expect a tree to hang onto it’s needles without a drink!

When you buy your real tree, acclimatising it to the indoors gradually will also help prevent it just shedding its needles in the unfamiliar heat.  If you know what a hot flush is like, you will sympathise!

Remove about a 1/2-inch from the base of the trunk and put it into water as soon as you get it home and then put in the porch or garage for a day or two before taking it indoors.

Once the tree is indoors and dressed it will need topping up with water regularly –  a large tree could drink as much as a gallon of water a day in its first week indoors.

Festive Feathers

If you are looking for a present for the outdoor loving person who has everything, do consider something which our feathered friends will appreciate too.

A bird station or bird bath is a lovely present for anyone, but especially someone who is housebound or someone in a residential care home, for example. If they have already got a feeder, then bird food is a good idea – it’s an expensive item and far better than more socks!

A bird bath can also provide great entertainment for the observers and participants alike.

Exseedingly Good Presents

Packets of seeds make great presents to pop in a card.  Add your own comical message, Hap-pea Christmas, or Grow Your Own Sprouts for Next Year, for example. Or choose novelty seeds, like Rainbow Carrots, Pink Sweeetcorn, Cucamelons or even ‘Dog Mix Seeds’ from Franchi Seeds Pet Range.

The mixture of seeds, for sowing as ‘living pet food’, has been specially formulated to supplement the diet and suit the natural and nutritional needs of dogs. The Ryegrass and Hordeum aid normal digestion and intestinal function of the animal. These seeds can be also cultivated in containers.
More details here.

Or how about five magical beans with messages and pictures laser etched into them on both sides, which will continue to enlarge as the beans grow. They are pretty cool.

Just plant the seed into water beads or soil, and less than two weeks later, everyone will be astonished by the special messages that grow with the plant!

There are a number of different packs available, making the beanstalk an ideal gift for all occasions, not just Christmas.

Available from here.

Christmas Containers

Outdoor pots and tubs can be festiv-ised by cutting sprigs of evergreens from the garden and pushing them into the compost (see photo).

Simply fill the pots with cut evergreen bits like euonymus, ivy, holly and hebe and add seedheads like teasels, and spent flowerheads like hydrangeas.

You can also add cyclamen for an added splash of colour and little solar lights for night-time display too.

Have fun and be creative!

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