With Christmas over, now is the time to put away the decorations until next year. Many of us have bought real trees, so we now need to get them out of the house before the dreaded bristles cover the carpets. This week Paraic offers us some tips about disposing your tree, or maybe even using it in your garden post Christmas.
First of all, anybody who has a real tree can drop them off to a county council approved location to be recycled into compostable material. Check out your local council website to find out the nearest one to you. For anybody in the East of the country, Horkans in the Glen of the Downs beside the N11 are offering a recycling service. It is completely free and environmentally friendly so please put in the effort and recycle.
If you are not quite ready to say goodbye to your tree just yet, why not use it as a natural framework for other plants. A Christmas tree’s beautiful conical shape makes it a perfect host for climbing plants such as the nasturtium and Sweetpeas. To turn your old tree into a frame for climbers is a really simple task. Simply place your tree in the garden with a stake for support and plant your seeds indoors to grow for a couple of weeks. The seedlings can be then transplanted outdoors at the end of February or early March. They should be planted around the base of your old tree allowing them to use the tree as a support while growing. Your old Christmas tree provides a natural looking and attractive frame for these colourful plants.
You can expect them to flower in June right through until November, and with a choice of many different colours in both plants they are a welcome addition to any garden. As well as this, Sweetpeas are perfect for cutting and bringing indoors for the summer months to add to your indoor display. You can expect the tree to last at least one and possibly two seasons before it deteriorates.
Adding some spring colour to your garden.
Pots, containers, window boxes or hanging baskets are all really easy ways to add to your display which will blossom come spring. Winter hardy plants are best suited to withstand the frost and heavy wet weather (which is more than likely on the way!) but will also flourish in mild conditions. Winter Heathers are just coming into flower now. They are brilliant for pots and containers as well as rockeries and borders to add some rich and vibrant colour. The featured variety of heather, Erica Carnea, will grow in any soil type offering lovely red tones for your garden. This particular type will flower right up until the end of April. Scented Hyacinths are also perfect for hanging baskets or containers. They add a nice splash of spring colour, and as the name suggests, they have a lovely pleasant smell. Daffodils and Primulas can also be planted now and will offer plenty of sustained colour in spring. You may have seen some daffodils or other plants unusually blossoming at this time of year. Some of these have been “tricked” into blossoming early, but the unusually mild weather we have had this year does have an effect on our plants in general.
What effect will the unusual weather have on my plants?
This autumn has seen some unseasonably warm and dry weather with very little frost. The warm dry soil and reasonably warm weather has made for excellent gardening conditions. This type of weather is perfect for setting trees, plants and shrubs. As the plants adapt to the weather they tend to flower a little bit earlier. Daffodils and snowdrops for example, are nearly ready to flower in some gardens, about three weeks earlier than usual.
So what happens if we experience some heavy rain in the coming weeks? A heavy deluge of rain should not have a major effect on most plants but. Flowering plants will be set back a little bit, but most plants will tolerate the rain and frost as nature has prepared them well. It will merely slow down their growing cycle slightly, but not enough to cause any worry for a regular gardener. Flowers in full bloom can be damaged but in general they can withstand anything Mother Nature will throw at them.
The unusually warm weather has triggered early growth across the board so if you have the time, go out and give your lawn a light trim and apply some lawn feed to give it a lush green colour. Unfortunately with the good, comes the bad. The mild weather has triggered quite a lot of moss growth, so now is a good time to apply a moss treatment such as ZERO treatment available at Horkans to deal with the problem.
Spring flowering trees
Why not plant a tree this year or even give one as a gift? It can be quite symbolic, a new tree signals a new start, and there are many really beautiful varieties to choose from. The soil conditions at the moment are perfect for planting.Fruit trees, ornamental trees and evergreens will add to any garden. Smaller evergreens such as the featured Weeping Cotoneaster will grow to about 4 or 5 feet in height and three feet in diameter. They will retain their leaves all year round with lovely white flowers in April and May, followed by bright red berries in Autumn and winter making them a year round attraction.