The saga of the Christmas trees is over at last. I didn’t want to spend inordinate amounts of money on a tree last Christmas, even one with roots. I did however want to decorate a tree of some sort.
I decided that I would decorate twigs and branches but had difficulty achieving the effect I wanted with what was lying on the ground, and would not cut anything from a tree just to satisfy my peculiar interior design madness.
So off I trotted to the garden centre where I spotted a brilliant, giant silver-barked shrub, a witch hazel. It had generous, widely spread branches plenty strong enough to hold the odd bauble or three. I also spotted a tall, thin, contorted willow with bright red, beautifully knitted branches. I couldn’t chose between them and so, typically, bought both, safe in the knowledge that I could plant them in the garden afterwards. They were both attractive plants and so they would look great as specimens or bulking up the beds.
Decorated they were amazing, lending a Japanese elegance, one to the entrance hall, the other in the dining room. The bark colours were perfect and I was very pleased with myself. I had bought plants we would be pleased to add to the garden, had ‘talking point’ Christmas trees and had spent less than I would have had I bought traditional pine trees.
By Boxing day the witch hazel had burst into flower and its yellow bumble bee blossoms added something very special to the look of the centrepiece. The willow was more contorted than it had been as it was a good two feet taller than our ceiling height, but still looked healthy.
By twelfth night I had realised that the trees could not be put outside because they had been tricked by the central heating into believing Spring was just around the corner. So, they became very large house plants, but still looked good.
By February the witch hazel was shedding its blossom all over the floor and the dogs – two of whom have very low undercarriages and long coats, being long haired miniature dachshunds – were the perfect vehicles to spread it all over the house. I found it under cushions, in the beds, in cupboards and attached to carpets as if by velcro. The showers also harboured the stuff. (I wondered what that was about until I caught one of the dogs licking up the water after someone had showered!)
The nights were still cold, often below freezing and these shrubs were by now bursting exuberantly into leaf. They had to stay inside.
However, by earlier this week, the end of March, I had noticed that they seemed to be losing the freshness to their leaves and not wanting to force them into Autumn, deemed it possible to put them into the garden wearing overcoats of agricultural fleece.
So, as of yesterday they stand, majestically swathed in layers of white, in their new positions, hopefully now able to stretch their toes into the warming soil and revel in the Spring sunshine. I planted the first potatoes the same week as I planted the Christmas trees!
And I have, at last, rid my house of ‘Christmas’ trees.