Deck the halls this year! It’s the holly and the ivy, door wreaths, table decorations, doorstep planters and patio pots that bring the real sense of the season, along with our all-time favourite, the Christmas tree.
You could add to the enjoyment by getting into living decorations and gifts. Spruce (Picea) and Christmas rose (Helleborus) make the perfect partners for creating decorative Christmas magic in the garden or on the patio.
Lets look at real, living trees for Christmas. These come in all shapes and sizes from the towering Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) at 15m to its baby brother ‘Montgomery’.
This slow-growing shrub variety is more suited to the kind of garden most of us have with its neat dimensions (1.5 m height and 1m spread as likely mature sizes). Smaller species and varieties are ideal for container growing whilst if you have the space, the big ones make fabulous specimen trees.
A clump or line of them provide year-round shelter, as well as giving the winter garden an honest breath of nature. Snow bearing down on spruce boughs in winter is always a delightful sight that makes you feel especially cosy when you’re wrapped up warm.
The true Christmas tree, the Norway spruce (Picea abies) can reach up to 40m in height, given ideal growing conditions, but Picea abies ‘Ohlendorffii’ is the complete opposite. Slow-growing, rounded and bushy, this neat shrub reaches up to 3m in height. ‘Nidiformum’ is another cute little one reaching 1.5m in height, but spreading to between 3 and 4m with a hollow ‘nest’ at its centre.
Foliage and flowers at Christmas and beyond will gladden the heart and bring decorative value to the garden and home. For those of you searching for solutions to ‘what shall we buy him/her this year’ questions, trees and perennials make interesting, fun gifts for friends and family with a passion for plants. Beyond this, establishing trees like this will improve your local air quality – evergreen spruces having beneficial filtering and cleaning effects all year round.