Oh Christmas Tree!

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It’s that time of year again and I have written some interesting articles over past festive seasons. How many of you have wondered why we decorate trees and bring them inside at Christmas?

Tree Spirits in the Dark Ages…

When trees lost their leaves in Autumn it was originally thought that the tree spirits had abandoned them leading to concerns that that the trees would remain bare and not produce any fruit.

Brightening up bare winter stems…

To encourage the spirits to return, decorations of painted stones and cloth were attached to trees in midwinter. Obviously this worked miraculously as trees burst into life the following Spring.

Why Conifers?

The new custom of bringing small fir trees inside actually started in Germany and although the trees had not lost their leaves people decorated them to look nice. In the shelter of a room the decorations became more varied and included gingerbread, sweets and paper lanterns. They were also lit with candles because they symbolised the light of Christ.


By the end of the Victorian era there were brightly decorated trees everywhere in winter and decorations became more commercialised and their origins forgotten. Candles have long been replaced by twinkling tree lights and today garden centres and department stores put them out in August!!

A little bit of Horticulture

The original Christmas tree or Picea abies dropped needles everywhere and has been replaced by Abies koreana cultivars which are classed as non-drop. Trees cut for Christmas should be treated as cut flowers but normally just dry out and get recycled by the roadside. Container grown conifers can be brought inside, watered well and then planted in the garden or brought in again next year because they are living plants. Potted trees have been dug up and potted just for Christmas and often don’t have any roots. 

There are always artificial ones….!

Cathie’s Mobile Gardening School and Cathie’s Garden Army

Apple trees, rose pruning and Wisteria taming days fill the diary for Spring so don’t leave it too late to book us. We offer a unique specialist service and are not a maintenance company.

Garden Vouchers for consultancies are an excellent idea for a Christmas present too!

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See also

Clematis Pruning

The perpetual problem! The challenge is to watch when it flowers, hence writing the article now. It can seem so complicated with all the different

An Introduction to Keeping Bees

Advice for new beekeepers from Cathie at Cathie’s Gardening School, Secretts Garden Centre, Milford. We now have three colonies of bees in the teaching garden

Gardener or Horticulturist?

Learning to mow a lawn and use a hedge cutter takes about five minutes whereas learning the subject of horticulture takes a lifetime…….Cathie’s Gardening School