Focus on Christmas Season, Trees or Plants!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and are still celebrating the many blessings you enjoy.  Hopefully we can all live with an attitude of gratitude, not just during Thanksgiving week, but throughout the year.  One of the benefits of gardening and working with nature is the chance to witness miracles daily and to live in wonder at the complex cycle of life that surrounds and interacts with us.

Our focus now turns to the Christmas season and plants and greenery have traditionally played an important role in these holiday festivities.  Evergreen trees and foliage have been a significant part of the Christmas celebrations for centuries.  Our ancestors decorated with boughs of green needle evergreens.  Over the year’s holly and other broadleaf shrub foliage and even mistletoe have been added to the seasonal celebrations.  What started as boughs of foliage on tables or under candles or lanterns has evolved into evergreen wreaths, swags and evergreen rope in addition to the original boughs as we all try to bring natural life and color into our holiday celebrations.

Christmas trees are said to have become a tradition in Germany and Northern Europe as another way to bring in fresh greens and to create a bigger symbol to decorate.  We can choose the traditional cut Christmas tree, originally cut from the forest or farm and now available at local Christmas Tree Farms or already cut at garden centers or nurseries.  You can choose many varieties and sizes of cut Christmas Trees but remember to select for freshness, make a fresh cut for bottom of trunk so it can absorb water and keep the cut tree in a stand with water you refill periodically.  You can also choose a living Christmas tree that you can grow on after the holiday.  You can choose an indoor house plant like Norfolk Island pine that you would keep inside after the holiday.  These are popular with folks who live in apartments or condos that don’t have a place to plant the living Christmas tree outside after the holiday.  You can select a container grown or balled and burlapped outdoor needle evergreen or pine from your local nursery to use as a living Christmas tree and then plant it out in the yard after Christmas.  Make sure to keep it watered while you have it in the house and it is best not to have the living outdoor type Christmas tree in the house for over two or three weeks as they will start to dry out and also get warmed up to where they have a harder time adjusting to hard freezes that may follow when they are moved outside.  Living Christmas trees are normally not as full and impressive as cut Christmas trees that have been sheared and pruned to be impressive for their Christmas responsibilities.

Poinsettias are a fairly recent Christmas tradition but have become a significant part of our modern Christmas celebrations.  The red bracts announce the Christmas season and brighten up our homes, churches, businesses and most everywhere we go in the Christmas season.  We can now enjoy them in red, pink, white, almost orange, and many speckled or combination colors.  They do need to be in a heated space and are pretty heavy water drinkers so check the soil for moisture and water regularly as needed.  Smaller pots will dry out more often than bigger pots.

Select your Christmas tree, buy or make some evergreen wreathes, swags and rope and select poinsettias to help get your Christmas celebration in full swing.


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