SWEET PINE OF MINEJessica Peace
THE TREE – they smell GOOD, make our living rooms into a grotto for a few weeks and occasionally stab us with their needles – why do we do this every year? Find the right tree for you and then make it a more sustainable tradition…
The branches of the evergreen Conifer have been flailed about in celebration since the pagans danced with them and strung them up for the Winter solstice, and the Romans fought and lounged around them during Saturnalia. But Christmas trees as we know them today became popular when Albert put up a Norway Spruce for Victoria in 1841, we’ve been copying him ever since. So for pagan worshippers, Roman gladiators and Victorian moralists alike the Norway Spruce is for you. To have them looking their best on Christmas day bring your Norway Spruce into the house at the last minute, make sure its in a water holding stand (not hammered to a piece of wood) and place it well away from radiators.
AVOID THE DROP
If you don’t love getting the hoover out; the daily pricking (someone here knelt on one – not pretty); or you’re protecting small hands and paws you’ll want one of our softer ‘non-drop’ Firs which hold their needles much much longer. For the traditional shape choose a Nordman Fir which is now the most popular choice; for heavy baubles, small corners and cramped/ cosey flats choose a Fraser Fir rapidly becoming a favourite as it smells REALLY good; or if you want an Elvis style Blue Christmas go for the Noble Fir
KEEPING IT PINE FRESH
The trick to keeping that tree looking good hangs on three things; a drill, a drink and some moral support. When you pick up your tree get one
of us to drill a hole in the trunk for you, or saw an inch off the trunk when you get it home, this makes it easier for your tree to take up water. Hole done, get the tree in its stand as quickly as you can; no longer than 24 hours otherwise you’ll tire out that trunk before you’ve even gotten the baubles on. For the stand we’ve found the ‘Krinner’ stands work
best; with a foot pump for easily fixing your tree into a straight position and inbuilt water bath and indicator to let you know exactly when your tree is hankering for a drink, the Krinner puts an end to unhappy trees and family members attempting to screw down the base – “to the left abit- no, more forwards…”
‘WHAT DO I DO WITH IT NOW?’
It’s January, time to start resolutions and just ‘be better’ – or relax till February… either way there is still that tree sitting in the lounge. Here are some sustainable options for getting rid of / reusing that tree.
KICK IT TO THE KERB
The council will now collect your tree and turn it into green waste; but don’t forget to look at the council website in December for the pick up dates and locations, otherwise you’ll be piggybacking that tree over.
Fancy saving yourself a bit of dosh next December? If you’ve got a garden or a generous community garden then get your spade out. When choosing your tree ask for one of our ‘potgrown’ trees, providing you’ve managed to keep it upright and alive throughout all the partying and present giving, you’ll have a living tree waiting for a home come January.
Christmas trees are being dragged from the warmth of our living rooms and put to good use all over the UK in schemes including safety barriers, sea defences and sand dune protection. Look up your nearest scheme or if you’ve got a big boot organise a January road trip to where your tree is needed!
LET’S MAKE MULCH
Pine needles can make a lovely acidic mulch, go easy though and keep these needles strictly for your acid loving plants; rhododendrons, camellias, roses etc. This is strong stuff.
GRAB YOUR TOOL BAG
Three words: Christmas Tree Coasters. What’s more satisfying than putting your mug down on that wooden coaster you sliced up? Stirring the pot with your whittled spoon or for the less advanced/ more lazy of us, wedging the door open with that Christmas tree doorstop.