Window Lights are wonderful way to greet visitors to your house at Christmas, and here Andy Taylor reviews Konstsmide's contemporary and traditional range of Candlesticks, Welcome Lights and Silhouettes.
The focal point of most families' celebrations, covered in lights and decorations, a real Christmas Tree needs to be kept healthy and look its best throughout all the celebrations.
Follow a few simple rules and it's easy to maintain the fresh look and natural scent of a tree, and avoid the downside of hoovering up dozens of fallen needles.
Rule One is to buy a fresh Christmas Tree. Most trees are cut down well before they reach the retailer so buy early – you are probably in a better position to look after one tree than a retailer who has hundreds.
Test the needles, if they are already falling off, walk away. Feel how heavy the tree is, if it feels too light this is a sign of dehydration.
Unless you like clearing up needles, don't buy trees have brittle stems that snap when bent or and that are dropping lots needles when you brush your hand across the branches.
Whether the tree still has roots or not shouldn't matter in the relatively short time it is in your house. 'Potted Christmas Trees' or container grown trees with roots can be cared for in the same way as indoor plants.
Once home, cut an inch off the bottom of unrooted trees. This will aid the tree's intake of water.
The tree then needs to be positioned in water, like you it won't survive Christmas without lots of refreshment, perhaps three pints a day. It's best to buy a purpose built stand, that has a reservoir of water, rather than messing about with buckets and bricks.
If you aren't ready to bring it into the house, leave the tree outside in a cool dark place. If it has netting, keep it on until your are ready to start decorating, it makes positioning much easier.
Locate the tree away from any sources of heat i.e. central heating radiators. Christmas trees like cool conditions, conservatories and unheated porches are great places to put them.
Remember to regularly refresh the water. Imagine it as a very large cut flower, the most important rule is not to let it dry out even once. Check daily whether there is enough water and replenish regularly.
Re-cycle. Many if not most local council offer this service. You can also use fresh needles in pot pourri and even tea. Keen gardeners will use them to introduce acid into alkaline soils.
Trees that have been properly grown in containers (not potted trees) can be planted in the garden for next year if you have moisture retentive acid soil.
So there you have it, a few do's and don'ts so that the all important tree remains in tip top condition for you to enjoy over Christmas and then will provide a useful resource after the festive fun finishes.
Nathan James Dodd
Here in Birmingham, the weather has been as changeable as ever, very warm just before Easter followed by a cold spell only last week. During May the threat of further frost will largely pass and, with spring well under way, Robert Hall is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.
The weather forecast is for a sizzling summer and David Coton is already looking forward to preparing delicious barbecued food for his family and friends. Barbecues have become incredibly popular over recent years and here is David's guide on what to look out for when choosing one of these summer essentials.
Sheds of any kind are ubiquitous in the British garden and, due to their popularity, there are plenty to choose from. David Coton explores the basic considerations that need to be taken into account before purchasing one.
Robert Hall, senior partner at GardenSite.co.uk has been elected to sit on the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) Judging Panel for 2017. The news was announced on 31st March 2017 on the GIMA website.