by Linda Petite, Horticulture Centre of the Pacific –
Fresh holiday decorations not only make your home look festive,but they also surround your living space with wonderful scents.
The evergreen fir has been traditionally used to celebrate winter festivals for thousands of years. Pagans used branches to decorate their homes during Winter Solstice while Romans used trees to decorate their temples. Christians used it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
Historical evidence of the decoration of trees at Christmas dates from Riga, Latvia in 1510.
Descriptions of German Christmas trees dated to 1531, where they were decorated with paper flowers, apples and candy.
In 1841 Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s German husband) had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle. At first trees were put on tables as they were smaller.
In 1848 a drawing of “The Queen’s tree at Windsor Castle” was published in the Illustrated London News. After that Christmas trees became popular in the U.K. and North America.
The first Christmas tree was lit by electricity in 1882 in New York City.
To many, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a real Christmas tree. Most of us have childhood memories of freshly cut trees, holiday garland on the mantle and a wreath on the front door. Generally indoor greenery will look good for two weeks indoors, but with some extra care possibly even longer.
Here are a few tips to keep your perfect Christmas tree fresh:
1) To check for freshness, look for a firm tree and bounce the trunk on the ground; only a few needles should drop. A fresh tree’s needles can bend without snapping in half and if there is resin at the base of the trunk then it has recently been cut.
2) Saw a couple of inches off the bottom of the trunk before bringing it indoors.When trees are cut,pitch oozes out and seals the pores, so a fresh cut will open up the pores and allow the tree to absorb the water.
3) Watering is critical: a freshly cut tree can consume three litres of water in 24 hours! Keep the tree stand full at all times. Research has shown that fresh water is all you need – no reason to add sugar or preservatives.
4)Keep trees away from major sources of heat.
If possible, keep your evergreen boughs in wet oasis (florist foam) to keep them fresh; daily misting helps.
Recycle your tree after Christmas – many local communities have drop-off areas.
This year why not try a potted evergreen tree inside for the holidays?
When the holidays have passed, plant your tree outdoors for years of enjoyment.
Enjoy the fresh scent of Christmas and have a Happy Holiday!