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.
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..
Although practicalities, price and personal choice will all affect your choice of Christmas tree, there are many other criteria.
A more open tree might be suitable if you have lots of decorations You might also consider the tree's strength if the ornaments are many or heavy. And to avoid hands that resemble pin cushions, you can choose a tree without sharp needles.
As for colour, you may prefer a bright or dark green - the latter show lights to better effect - or the attractive hue of Blue Spruce.
Some trees also have to be shaped when they are grown and this will be reflected in their higher price. As will be the case with harder to grow and less popular varieties.
Firs, spruces and pines are the traditional species of Christmas trees and here are the most popular ones that you will find in garden centres:
Particularly popular 'non-drop' tree as the glossy dark green needles with contrasting underside are blunt. A 'proper' Christmas Tree shape with a generous base and symmetrical shape.
Similar to the Nordmann with soft needles, good fragrance and neatly cone shaped with a narrower base to suit a smaller room. Good needle retention, easy to decorate.
Great bright green colour and fragrance with a pleasing shape and strong branches, will remain fresh and retain its sharper needles throughout Christmas.
Very attractive grey green / blue colour, nice scent, but with non-drop sharp needles. Strong branches are suitable to hold lots of baubles and treats.
The name gives a clue as to how American Indians used this tree, it has both great fragrance and excellent needle retention. Similar to Scots Pine.
Until recently Britain's most popular tree, but its short and painfully sharp needles will drop very readily especially if water isn't provided.
And here are how they are sold:
Commercially grown and cut down just above ground height. If an inch is cut off the bottom of the trunk and the tree is kept well watered, this type will survive the Christmas season in good shape especially the non-drop varieties, It will then need to be recycled.
These trees have been lifted with some of their roots and potted. Take note that the root system is extremely unlikely to sustain any future growth and won't noticeably prevent needle drop.
These have actually been grown in containers and should be cared for in the same way as a potted plant. They can be planted out in the garden if you have the right type of moisture retentive acid soil.
So before going to the garden centre, consider:
When you have all the answers, you'll be odds-on to buy the perfect tree for your particular needs.
April, particularly if you are on holiday over Easter, is the time when gardeners, whatever their level of enthusiasm and skill, want to get into the garden. Andy Taylor looks at the gardening jobs that can be achieved this month.
With rising water temperature and kinder weather, April is a good month for pond maintenance and Dan Everton takes a look at the jobs that need to be done this month.
Pay attention to your lawn in the spring and Andy Taylor reckons you will receive dividends later in the year.
Looking to buy a timber planter but not sure what to purchase? David Coton provides some helpful advice on the many different designs that are available and how they can transform your patio and garden.