By Lottie Newitt, Blogger and TV Presenter and Owner of the Alfresco Style at Hatton Country World
Our star plant of the month is Abies nordmanniana, aka the Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree!
We absolutely love the idea of being able to grow your own Christmas Tree, especially for those with a young family as you can watch your very own Christmas Tree grow with your family through the years.
The Nordmann Fir makes for a great hardy garden plant all year-round which if left in a nice pot can be moved inside for the festive period or left outside and decorated with pretty fairy lights to brighten up the December Garden.
All they need is to be kept damp in the summer, usually best out of direct sun light so they don’t scorch or dry out and a good feed with an all-round plant food in the autumn and late spring.
Here are a few other plants to help cheer up your December garden;
· Ilex aquifolium- Good old English Holy with its traditionally-loved festive red or yellow ornamental berries! Be sure to plant a female and a male plant to ensure continual berries year on year. Not only lovely for the winter garden but a great cutting plant to decorate the inside of the home too (mind out for the spikey foliage though!). A hardy shrub which is usually evergreen that will grow in most garden aspects.
· Gaultheria procumbens is a wonderful low growing shrub ideal for clumped ground cover or perfect for a container garden. Vibrant red ornamental red berries flash from under the green-bronzy foliage from autumn and into the winter.
· Sarcococca varieties are a great way to add sweet fragrance to your winter garden. Lovely glossy deep green leaves with spindly white/cream blooms that are subtle in size but big in scent! This hardy shrub can be grown in the border or a container, OK in most conditions but we’ve found they always perform better in part shade.
Wildlife tip of the Month:
Keep the birds and other wildlife going through the winter by planting shrubs with ornamental berries and top them up with higher-fat feed such as peanuts or suet-based blocks. This gives them that extra energy boost for winter whilst also giving them a little more ‘fat’ to keep that extra bit warmer during the colder months ahead.
Christmas Tree Care
Help your cut tree last longer with these few tips:
· When you get your cut tree home, if you are able to do so safely trim about 1-2cm off the base of the tree to help open up it’s ‘pores’ which will make watering more efficient through the festive period
· Dunk in a bucket of water as soon as you have trimmed the base or have got your tree home- don’t let it sit out of water for too long, this shortens their life-span. We recommend keeping it stood outside in a bucket of water over night before bringing your tree in to the home to give it a good soak.
· Put your tree somewhere a little cooler if possible and away from a hot radiator, one for safety but also to prevent your tree drying out too quickly which makes them drop sooner.
· Water your tree once or twice a week (depending on how warm your home is) to keep the moisture level stable. Be sure to put your tree in a water-tight vessel so that you are able to water your tree throughout the festive period.
We have some lovely cut Christmas Trees available to buy in our Garden Boutique, some are up to 6ft in height, come and visit us for more advice and choose your perfect Christmas Tree.
If you need any further advice on ideas for winter gardening or seasonal plant care please feel free to come in and ask Lottie or one of the Garden Boutique Team, we’d be happy to help and we have everything you need to make your autumn garden a success.