Is there anything as uplifting at this time of year as the scent of a real Christmas tree? I know I’m not alone in being attracted to the resinous, evergreen fragrance, as I see scented candles for sale with names like Fir Tree, Christmas Pine and Holiday Greenery! Although we’ve fallen in our thousands for the convenience of re-usable artificial trees, I’ve never been a fan of them, and with increasing awareness of the damage plastic can do to our home planet, sustainably grown real trees are more popular than ever. Your local garden centre will have a good selection and some offer a postChristmas collection service which is well worth checking out. There are a few things you can do to keep your tree fresh for the duration of the season – cut a few inches from the base of the stem, to allow the tree to take in water, and use a stand that you can top up with fresh water every couple of days, being careful of any electric fairy lights, of course.
Put your tree in the coolest part of the house - if you can – not if that’s the attic or utility room, obviously! - and leave it outdoors for as long as you can bear to before you bring it in to your centrally heated home to decorate it. Potted trees are getting more popular and can be planted in the garden when Christmas is over – but do check the eventual size if you’re thinking of doing this as the tree may soon rival the house in height if it’s a vigorous grower. Seasonal swags, wreaths and planted containers are a lovely way to bring green both into your home or to greet you and your visitors at the door. You’ll be spoiled for choice and you can add a little extra sparkle to the fresh greenery with your own baubles and a twist or two of shiny ribbon.
For bouquets and indoor arrangements, eucalyptus is one of my favourites, and its aromatic silvery green leaves will complement the shiny berries of holly, the crimson of amaryllis and pretty much any other blooms you like. Although the children are dreaming of a white Christmas, I wish you a joyfully green one, and a New Year of colour and splendour. Gardenwise will return in February, in time for the countdown to spring. Merry Christmas!