IT'S that time of year again, time to select and bring home a
Christmas tree for the festive season. Already Christmas trees
of all shapes and sizes are readily available throughout many
garden centres and other outlets.
Whether you choose a Spruce, Pine or Abies Nordmaniana, it is
important to keep the tree alive and looking its best indoors
for as long as possible.
Keep rootless trees immersed in a bucket of water and top it up
when necessary. Root balled trees should be planted in a large
pot filled with moist compost before bringing indoors.
Keep the compost around the roots moist at all times and be sure
to get it back outdoors as soon as the festivities have finished
if you want to plant it in the garden and save it to do the same
job next year!
Spare a thought for the wildlife in your garden. Migrant birds
such as the jay and redwing join our local thrushes and
blackbirds which are already feeding on the berries of
cotoneaster and pyracantha. Smaller birds such as bluetits and
robins will appreciate kitchen scraps, nuts, raisins and bird
seed to feed on through the cold winter months.
Hedera or evergreen ivy makes an excellent hardy self-clinging
plant for covering untidy walls, chimney breasts, fences or as a
ground cover plant. Green leafed varieties are very shade
tolerant and will survive under drought conditions. They are an
ideal plant for a north facing wall.
Variegated ivy prefers more light and may suffer from wind and
frost damage, but it will grow well in a sunny sheltered
Ivies may be pruned to remove damaged or untidy growth and to
control the overall height and spread of the plant. Propagate by
soft wood cuttings or layering in late summer.
Small yellow/green flowers appear in autumn, soon to be followed
by black fruits. Hedera canariensis, colchica sulphur heart,
gold heart and buttercup will make excellent climbers, providing
all year round colour.
The lustrous foliage of holly gives great pleasure in the garden
all year creating focal points with colourful berries and leaf
variations. Ilex aquifolium, our common native holly is
particularly popular at Christmas time.
When cutting sprigs of holly for indoor decoration, try to
enhance the shape of the plant rather than spoil it. Remember
Christmas only lasts a few weeks, but the holly tree has to look
its best all year round.