Greener Christmas

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  Wreat                                                                          Tools
CREATE A CHRISTMAS WREATH                                                      WHAT YOU’LL NEED                                                                   THE EASY GUIDE TO
                                                                                 • Tape measure                         • Secateurs
                                                                                 • Christmas tree
                                                                                 • Christmas tree stand
                                                                                                                        • Greenery, berries,
                                                                                                                          seedheads, pine cones
                                                                                                                                                                 A GREENER
                                                                                   or bucket of pebbles                 • Rope

                                                                                 • Festive plants
                                                                                                                        For more information:
                                                                                 For wreaths/garlands         
                                                                                 • Wreath ring/wire mesh      
                                                                                 • Florist wire               

Wreaths are a lovely way to
enhance the festive atmosphere
in your home, welcoming
Christmas visitors at your front
                                       procedure a little further down
                                       the frame, ensuring the bunches
                                       overlap, leaving no obvious gaps.
                                       ● At first you may find the foliage
                                                                                 H TA
                                                                               HORTICULTURAL TRADES ASSOCIATION
                                                                               THE HORTICULTURAL TRADES ASSOCIATION IS RUN
                                                                               BY THE GARDEN INDUSTRY FOR THE GARDEN INDUSTRY
door. They are quite simple to         slides around a little, but the more    It is dedicated to providing services, products, advice
make and most of the materials         you add, the more stable it will        and information to help support and promote the
are freely available.                  become. Keep your work flat on          business activities of garden retailers, growers,
● You will need a wire frame made      a tabletop to prevent movement.         landscapers, wholesalers, manufacturers and
from two circles of wire looped        ● For a really full wreath, fill both   service providers in the UK.
together or a length of wire mesh      the inner and outer parts of your       ● Tel: 0118 930 3132 or visit

(rolled into a sausage shape and       frame with foliage. The more you        ● PlantforLife – visit

                                                                                 R HS
bent to form a circle) or a ready-     add, the better it will look.           ● Stars For Europe – visit

made wire ring from your local         ● Attach your decorations by
florist; florist wire; some greenery   twisting wire around the base of
(ivy, laurel leaves, leylandii,
Lawson’s cypress and holly
                                       the cones, berries and seedheads.
                                       Twist the ends firmly together
                                                                               ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
work well); and berries, cones         and push the wire into the wreath       THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY
and seedheads.                         frame. Secure by twisting the ends      IS THE UK’S LEADING GARDENING CHARITY
● First attach a length of florist     again at the back of the wreath.        Membership benefits include:
wire securely at the top of the        ● Finally, attach the finished          ● Free entry with a guest to RHS Gardens Wisley,
frame to hang your wreath.             wreath to a nail on your front            Rosemoor, Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr;
● Cut small bunches of foliage to      door for all to see and admire.         ● Free entry to more than 140 recommended
25cm (10in) lengths and wrap a         ● You can create beautiful natural        gardens; privileged entry and reduced-rate tickets
piece of wire around the lower         garlands in a similar way. Use            for RHS flower shows;
end of the bunch. Attach the           florists wire to attach overlapping     ● Free gardening advice service;
foliage to the ring with another       bunches of evergreens and               ● Free monthly edition of The Garden magazine.
piece of wire. Keep repeating the      decorations to a length of rope.        ● Call 0845 130 4646 or visit

                                                   Attach evergreen
                                                   stems to a length
                                                   of rope to create a
                                                   natural garland

                                                                               Photography: Stars For Europe, Tim Sandall/The Garden, Terry Rugg
                                                                               Copyright: All information contained within the Easy Guide series of
                                                                               leaflets remains the copyright of the HTA and cannot be reproduced
                                                                               in written or electronic form without permission               EG34/10/10
                                                                               Made from at least 50% recycled paper; the remainder is from certified forests
    Int t
                                                                                      t        s
                                                                                    Fesive Plant
                                                                                 FESTIVE PLANTS
                                                                                 Flowering and colourful plants are always a joy to give and receive at
For centuries, Christmas has been celebrated by bringing nature into the
home. Far more environmentally friendly than synthetic glitz, plants offer       Christmas. Their bright, cheerful appearance, especially those with red
natural beauty and wonderful fragrances. As well as the real Christmas           flowers, bracts and stems, lifts the spirits and epitomises the season.
trees and exotically coloured houseplants on sale at your local garden           Follow our simple guidelines to help your festive plants perform
centre, you can decorate your home with bowls of pine cones or colourful         superbly right through the Christmas season and well into the new year.
leaves, twisted stems or teasels in a vase, garlands of ivy, holly and mistle-   CYCLAMEN

         t ree
    Chrismas t
toe, and natural tree decorations such as cinnamon sticks tied with ribbon       Cyclamen are one of the most
and studded oranges. So for a greener Christmas, why not add a little            charming winter-flowering plants
natural country charm to your decorations – and get the kids to help!            with exotic-looking swept-back
                                                                                 flowers in intense shades of red,                                         POINSETTIAS                              Their name comes from Joel
CHOOSING A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE                                                   purple, pink and white with heart-
                                                                                 shaped, silver-veined foliage.
                                                                                                                                                           Poinsettias have become part
                                                                                                                                                           of Christmas symbolism and
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Poinsett, who introduced
                                                                                                                                                                                                  them to the USA about 1828. And
Selecting and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the key festive              They are easy and rewarding                                             decoration. Their association          even though poinsettias now come
traditions, and nothing compares to the wonderful fresh pine scent,              houseplants, provided you meet                                            with Christmas dates back to 16th-     in different colours, the red and
appearance and texture of a real Christmas tree. What’s more, every tree         their requirements – a cool spot                                          century Mexico as legend tells of a    green classic is the most popular.
that’s harvested from Christmas tree farms is replanted and all parts can        (12-15°C) that’s brightly-lit, but out                                    poor girl who had nothing to give        Poinsettias are easy to care for.
be shredded and reused, unlike artificial trees that end their lives in land-    of direct sunlight. Overwatering is                                       to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. An       To enjoy them as long as possible
fill sites. The traditional Christmas tree is the Norway spruce, but look out    one of the chief causes of their                                          angel told her to gather weeds         put them in a bright, warm spot,
for similar trees on sale with better needle retention – like the Nordman        demise. When the compost surface                                          from the roadside and place them       around 20°C without draughts. Do
fir. Just remember to give your tree plenty of water and follow our simple       feels dry immerse the pot in a                                            by the altar. Red ‘blossoms’           not overwater by leaving water in
steps to ensure that your beautiful natural tree takes pride of place in         bowl of rain water for 20 minutes                                         sprouted from the weeds and            the saucer – water only when the
your home this Christmas.                                                        then pour the excess away.                                                turned into poinsettias.               potting mixture is almost dry.

● Before you buy your Christmas tree,                                            CHRISTMAS ROSE                                                            FORCED HYACINTHS
make sure you know how much room                                                 Said to have sprung from the                                              Bowls of forced hyacinths that
you’ve got to house it. Measure the                                              tears of a young girl who had                                             have been grown in the dark to
ceiling height and width of the space                                            nothing to offer the Christ child,                                        encourage them into early flower
and take a tape measure with you.                                                the Christmas rose (Helleborus                                            add a delightful scent to the home.
● Look for a green tree with no sign of                                          niger) blooms in the darkest                                              To prolong flowering, place in a
brown needles. Check that the trunk is                                           months of the year, making them                                           sunny spot away from draughts
sturdy and straight and the tree has a                                           a valuable asset to any garden.                                           and radiators. Stand the pots on
good, even shape with well-spaced                                                  Native to Europe, the Christmas                                         shallow trays of moist gravel.
branches and no obvious gaps. Needles                                            rose grows 38cm (15in) high and                                             Cut off the flowers when they
should stay fast if you gently run your                                          bears single white flowers about                                          die and give the bulbs some liquid
fingers down one of the lower branches.                                          8cm (3in) in diameter from                                                feed until the leaves begin to
● Once home, place your tree in a cool,                                          December to March. Grow in a                                              fade. Gradually dry off the bulbs
dry place out of the wind in a bucket of                                         sheltered position, in soil with                                          and plant them out in the garden
water until you’re ready to decorate.                                            plenty of added organic matter.                                           to enjoy in years to come.
● Before you bring it into the home,
saw 2.5cm (1in) off the end of the trunk.                                        AMARYLLIS                                                                 CORNUS STEMS
● Place the tree in as cool a position                                           Hippeastrum or amaryllis is an                                            Magnificent on sunny days in the
as possible – ideally well away from                                             indoor plant producing large,                                             winter garden, the fiery stems of
radiators and open fires.                                                        colourful showy flowers on tall                                           Cornus alba (dogwoods) are ideal
● Christmas trees keep best in plain                                             stems in winter. Give plants plenty                                       for Christmas flower arrangements.
water rather than soil or sand, which                                            of light so the stems don’t become                                           For the best display of colourful
block the pores in the bark, so use a                                            too leggy. Support stems with a                                           winter stem colour, plant your
specially designed Christmas tree stand                                          short stake to keep them upright                                          cornus in a moist site in full sun.
or bucket of pebbles.                                                            under the weight of the flowers.                                          Allow to grow unpruned for the
● Top up with water with a little sugar                                          After the blooms have faded keep                                          first year after planting and then
added – you may find your tree needs                                             the bulbs in a warm place and                                             prune right back to 5cm (2in)
as much as 2 litres (3 pints) a day.                                             resume watering the next autumn.                                          from the ground in early March.