Price Points: Artificial Christmas trees

Artificial Christmas trees

Well, it’s December so we’re now officially allowed to talk about Christmas. It’s time to think about advent calendars, putting up decorations and getting the Christmas tree. Don’t get me wrong, I love real pine trees at Christmas but artificial Christmas trees also have their merits.

I love the scent that you get from a pine tree; however, artificial trees don’t drop their needles. If you have a real tree, you’ll still be vacuuming them out of the carpet in April!). We tried, on more than one occasion, to buy a live tree with root-ball intact so that we can reuse it year after year.  The longest we’ve managed is 3 Christmases – we ever so slowly murdered the poor thing!

Don’t try and hide the fact that it’s artificial – embrace the fake tree by choosing one that’s hot pink, white, or – like the one pictured above – ombre. We love our metallic copper-coloured one, it really shines in the firelight… and once 12th Night has passed, we can store it away in the loft until the following year.

Saying that, some of the artificial trees available today are good imposters. Both the little tabletop one from NOTHS and the 12ft giant could have you fooled – especially once their covered (tastefully, of course 😉 ) in lights & decorations.

  1. Mini artificial Christmas tree by Marquis & Dawe: £16, Notonthehighstreet
  2. 6ft ombre-effect tree: £100, Next
  3. 11¾ft green Louise fir luxury premium PE Christmas tree: £699.99, Christmas Trees and Lights

Caring for your Leylandii hedge

Leylandii topiary in the shape of a viaduct at Newtownards, Portaferry Road, Mount Stewart, Northern Irelandcredit

Once you’ve planted your new hedge, your work has only just started! Here’s the low-down on helping your Leylandii trees to grow and thrive.

Leylandii hedge giving privacy around a swimming poolcredit

Keep your trees well watered

You need to make sure the trees get enough water to thrive and that their roots don’t dry out.

If you’re planting them between November and February, they’ll need less water (or none at all if it’s rainy) – compared to if they were planted in spring and summer. If you buy pot-grown Leyland cypress trees from thetreecenter.com you can plant them from March to October just fine, but make sure you water them regularly. Once they’ve gone through one growing season, their roots will have extended enough so that they won’t need additional help from your garden hose.

Long, tall Leylandii hedge with a large urn to give structure and proportioncredit

Here’s how you water them

You should check if your trees need watering by putting a finger into the root ball – or the soil next to the root ball – and judging its dampness. It should be moist, but not waterlogged. You should do this every two or three days throughout the first growing season.

You’ll probably find that new Leylandii need a good watering once or twice weekly, but obviously this depends on your weather and soil type. If you’re planning to go on holiday, use an automated sprinkler or ask a friend or neighbour to water them while you’re away.

Hose the soil around the root ball until the water starts to run off, then move along to the next tree. Wait for the water to sink in before repeating this process three or four times.

You might imagine that rain is enough to keep your trees watered, but often summer rain isn’t heavy enough, so it would be a good idea to invest in a rain gauge. The average Leylandii needs around a ¼-inch of rain to provide it with enough water for three days during the summer months. If you’re not getting that from the sky, you’ll need to intervene! Step in before the foliage starts to wilt and before the roots dry out.

Giant Leylandii hedgecredit

Drought symptoms

When Leylandii get too dry or too wet, you’ll see the leaves turn yellow, then brown. This starts at the bottom of the plant near the trunk, before spreading.

As you’d imagine, drought symptoms are most often caused by the lack of water, but similar symptoms can also be down to too much water. Don’t leave an automatic sprinkler on for too long, and if you’re planting in heavy clay, break it up with a garden fork or shovel so excess water can drain downwards and sideways. Otherwise, the roots will rot and this means they stop working, leading to water not reaching the foliage.

Trimming a Leylandii hedgecredit

How to establish and maintain your hedge

You can begin to trim your trees as soon as you’ve planted them – lop off any branches that are too high or long and this will encourage shoots to grow within your ideal shape, thickening the hedge. When the tops of the trees get to about six inches from your desired height, trim the tops, which will thicken out the width.

Once your hedge is established, you only need to trim once a year.

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Etsy List: Plant a tree

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'Plant a tree' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

It’s the 30th annual National Tree Week between 28th November and 6th December 2015. The Tree Council (yes, there is such an organisation) launched a campaign in the response to the Dutch Elm Disease crisis of the 60s which destroyed millions of trees. Tree Week grew out of this – and here we are in the 21st century rising to the challenge of Ash Dieback.

Get involved in a community event near you, or simply by gifting a tree or planting one of your own!

Plant a tree
Curated by H is for Home

Tuesday Huesday: Our cherry blossom

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view up into the cherry tree in blossom in our garden

We mentioned in our Tuesday Huesday post last week that our cherry blossom was due at any time – well here it is! We took this picture on the Sunday before the bank holiday this week when we had that lovely albeit short warm & sunny spell. We spent two glorious days pottering in the garden generally tidying up and replanting red currant, white currant and raspberry bushes that we “emancipated” from Justin’s parents’ old allotment.

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Gail Kelly calendar

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black & white cover of Gail Kelly's 2013 calendar featuring a linocut oak tree and acorns

Yes, it’s March, but we’ve only just got round to getting ourselves a 2013 calendar. We have high standards & requirements, you see, when it comes to choosing our annual calendar – it needs to be long & narrow as it has to fit the little strip of wall just inside the front door…

Gail Kelly's 2013 calendar hanging in our porch with white jug of yellow tulips and small vintage milk bottles

…it also needs to be attractive – no fluffy, cutesy pictures of animals much as we love them; no pop stars (Justin Bieber or Cliff Richard just won’t cut the mustard!); no artistic/moody/atmospheric shots of castles/ruins/seascapes/mountains; no humour (who wants to hear the same joke every day for a month?). We trawled Etsy, Folksy and Notonthehighstreet and eventually came across this Gail Kelly calendar.

wild cherry tree black & white linocut illustration beech tree black & white linocut illustration
willow tree black & white linocut illustration apple tree black & white linocut illustration

We first fell in love with Gail’s linocut illustrations when we saw her at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate about 5 years ago. We’ve been stocking her tree greeting cards at H is for Home ever since!