If you’d like a change from the traditional tree there are a variety of alternatives that you can choose from. At this time of year nurseries and garden centres are packed with all kinds of evergreens just waiting to be given a festive dressing.
Dwarf conifers are fantastic if you’re short of space as they can stand on an occasional table or even a windowsill. There is also the flame-shaped Chamaecyparis lawsoniana “Ellwood’s Gold”, which has gold “lacing” outlining its dark-green sprays of foliage, or one of the varieties of blue spruce which has almost turquoise needles with built-in silver frosting.
Then there are the grey-green Korean firs (Abies koreana), which come with their own set of decorations in the shape of purplish fir cones. The beauty of any of these is that they need very little extra in the way of baubles.
You could be a bit more adventurous and use a trimmed rosemary plant or you might also think about ivy topiary, which you sometimes see in the shops.
If you’re creative, you could make your own Christmas tree out of a big, pyramid-shaped chunk of green Oasis foam, piercing it all over with short sprigs of evergreens, arranged like mini tree branches. You could steal some Leyland cypress or other conifers from your hedge – whatever you have most of, but don’t use box hedging as it gives off an unpleasant smell when brought indoors.
What about a real live yule log? Anything with rough bark looks great, especially if it has its natural patina of lichen or moss. Stand it in the corner where you’d normally put your Christmas tree and decorate it with a few potted indoor ferns, cut greenery or some seasonal nuts, acorns and fir cones.
If you really must have a traditional tree but you’re short of space, stand it outside where you can enjoy looking at it through the window. A Norway spruce can be left in the garden in its pot or plunged up to the rim in the ground. Add outdoor fairy lights that can be plugged into a socket in the shed, or into a proper waterproof outdoor socket.
You can also stand a festive tree by the front door, but it needn’t be huge. As an alternative to the ‘usual’ tree, you could use a standard holly bush or a pyramid-trained bay tree. A few ribbons, bows and bells will look very festive but what usually lets it down is the pot, so invest in something handsome and festive.
If you have a sunroom or conservatory, don’t neglect it when you’re decorating for Christmas.
If you don’t want to buy a new plant for the occasion, just perk up your standard citrus or olive tree with some sparkly baubles.
Whatever you choose, have a very happy festive season!