This time of year always used to leave me feeling a bit glum when looking at my garden. My green fingers are itching but there is nothing, or at least very little I can do to scratch them. Frost sensitive plants have been protected as best as possible and frost sensitive bulbs lifted and stored. Bushes and trees have been pruned and fallen leaves gathered for compost and leaf mould. Seed catalogues have been well thumbed and spring orders placed. All of this would leave me twiddling my green thumbs with nothing more to do, until a few years ago whilst pondering the reason behind Christmas trees I hit upon a novel idea – it must be to give us gardeners something to do and cheer us up during the winter!
People usually buy one of three types of xmas tree:
- Real tree but with roots removed
- Synthetic tree
- Real live potted tree with roots
If you enjoy gardening then I’d recommend choosing the third option and then you’ll have a project for your garden during this otherwise relatively dormant period. Choose your tree carefully since almost all of the potted xmas trees on sale in December are from the conifer family, including commonly sold giants such as the Nordmann Fir which can reach heights of 60 feet when planted in the garden (my mother actually bought a couple of tiny Nordmann firs thirty years ago from Woolworths – they are now fifty feet tall and certainly doing better than the shop from which they were purchased 🙂 ) and Norway Spruce which can grow into mighty specimens over two hundred feet tall!!
There are plenty of dwarf conifers to choose from and whilst these in themselves will not make a great xmas tree display, they can be combined with a cut tree to make an original and stunning display and then be available for your garden after the festive period.
You can keep the larger varieties in check by growing them on as potted trees and then you will have a Christmas tree which you can use year on year. You will have to re-pot and prune it though to keep the tree performing at its best. Alternatively many of the juniper type xmas trees are perfect for bonsai crafting if that tickles your fancy!
So during the coming winters choose your Christmas tree with care and an eye for where it will go in your garden. Remember – whether you choose a large specimen tree, a dwarf conifer, a potted garden tree or even a juniper tree for bonsai this will give you extra seasonal cheer and an outlet for your green fingers in the Decembers to come!