In the past Christmas decorations were limited to streamers and fairy lights, but not any more as Robert Hall discovered when reviewing the huge range of novelty Christmas items that are brought to life by LEDs.
Chopping down trees to make wooden reindeer does not initially seem to be eco friendly. Particularly if the reindeer are sold for profit as part of the ever rolling Christmas market. But think again, as David Hall has.
A selection of British companies have been producing these very friendly, and yes, eco friendly reindeer for five years now and they take the environment, and people's jobs, very seriously.The reindeer are all hand made so immediately jobs are created. And they are crafted from wood that has primarily been sourced from local authorities in South Wales.
Many of these authorities are embarking on woodland management projects where trees are thinned out in wooded areas to encourage the full growth potential of neighbouring species.These may have been prevented from maturing because of over crowding. By removing some of this timber, and selling it for profit, the wooded areas have a more balanced eco structure that is sympathetic to more species than would normally be the case.
The bodies of the reindeer are made from alder, sycamore, and ash taken from such areas.The legs of the reindeer are a different proposition entirely as they are made from coppiced hazel. When you coppice a tree you cut it back down to ground level, or very nearly, every year or two. Coppicing opens up the tree canopy allowing the wooded area to flood with light and encourage lots of new, strong growth.These are of course ideal for reindeer legs!
A coppiced tree will live for a very long time as they are maintained at a juvenile stage, and therefore do not age. They live almost indefinitely, meaning a ready supply of timber that needs to be cut to produce more new wood. And the longer the tree establishes, the larger the root system, the more coppiced wood it produces. This method, of course, is centuries old but makes just as much sense, if not more, in our modern world.
Coppicing encourages its own woodland creatures which helps to maintain diversity. It also encourages some of our favorite woodland birds including pheasants, nuthatches and woodpeckers.
The eyes and noses for our rustic reindeer are from local businesses near South Wales, thus again helping the local economy. Not only do our rustic wooden reindeer make a great display and focal point for your home, garden or shop in a very environmentally friendly way but they are also individuals. There will never be two the same.
These reindeer have proved so popular that they are now out of stock, but gardensite sells a wide range of other Christmas decorations including illuminated and metal reindeer, and they are also available from our garden centre at Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.