JOHN’S JOURNAL

Keeping your Christmas Tree Happy

It’s that time of year again…..a time to have a good old reshuffle of the lounge and make way for the Christmas Tree. Whether it be a real or an artificial one it’s always surprising how much space it takes up, now if you have gone for a real one there’s always a few things you need to take into account to help it look its best for as long as possible, get it right and it will be looking fresh until the new year!

When you buy a bunch of cut flowers we all know to trim the bottom off the stems, place them in a vase of water and there’s all sorts of other tricks you can do to elongate their lifespan, with a Christmas tree you don’t need to worry about any other tricks but the most important thing is to give it a good drink before it goes inside, if you forgot to place your cut flowers in water they would collapse by the end of the day, a tree is a little more resilient but it’s all about keeping it looking fresh for as long as possible! So yes, firstly trim a small amount off the end of the stem, half an inch is fine and then place it in a bucket of water overnight before you take it inside. Then to help keep it upright there are a few methods, in a nice cool room you can stick with using the log roundel base they sometimes come with, but if you like your room a little warmer then I would recommend investing in a stand which has a water reservoir as part of it, this way you can continue to give your tree water as and when it needs it.

As I mentioned, the temperature also plays a big part, if it’s going to be near a radiator that can put real pressure on your tree, and a few houses have underfloor heating nowadays as well and that makes it a real challenge for a tree to stay fresh and happy looking! We have underfloor heating at home and the reservoir stand is an essential part!

There’s a couple of different types of Chritsmas trees available and Nordmann non-drop is the most popular nowadays, with their ability to hold their needles for much longer than a Traditional Spruce, they’re also a little less prickly. The needles on a spruce are much shorter, a lighter green and I have distinct memories of having one when I was little and it went out of the house with barely a needle on it at the end. Anyway whether it be a real tree or an artificial tree enjoy putting it up and have lots of fun decorating it aswell, Rose is certainly starting to get an eye for it at this end!

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

 

Can I cut the colourful stems off my Dogwood?

You can as they make a great counterpart to any container planting, giving height and colour, you may also get roots on them as you are literally taking giant hardwood cuttings, their colours look delightful through the Winter months.

 

How often should I water my houseplants?

It’s always best to leave your houseplants to dry out before watering them during the winter months, you can more often than not kill a houseplant from over watering rather than underwatering. So before you water it dip your fingers into the compost and if it’s still dry down into the compost then give it a drink, bottom up is always good as well so stand it in a bowl of water for a few minutes and it will then drink just what it needs, then place it on a saucer to catch any drips.

 

The leaves have gone brown on my Bay?

We had a very hard frost over the weekend when it snowed and at the nursery it was very close to -10 degrees, this then had a bit of a burning effect on a few evergreens, Holly bushes may have had any soft leaves burnt along with Bay bushes as well. Another reason why not to prune in the Autumn as these outer leaves always take the hit leaving the central leaves nestled away protected ready for the Spring,

 

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

Plant of The Week

Hyacinths

At this time of year they are prepped and forced on to be ready to flower over the next couple of weeks, filling the house with a delightful perfume and you can then also plant them out in the garden to come back year after year.