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Barmy Blue's Bland Blog

Why Trees?

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Why not trees? Theyíre lovely.
Weíve just put Stanley out and it makes me sad.
Iíll never understand why people have fake Christmas trees. Sure theyíre convenient and donít make a mess but is that all? They can come in all sorts of colours and styles. But how can that compare to the beauty of a real tree? Even a tiny shrub has so much more beauty than plastic crap.

I know and accept that real trees have their issues.
You need to get a quality tree from a quality retailer who got it from a good tree farm in the first place because it should be healthier and have less chance of dropping needles all over your floor.
In addition you must get it at just the right time. Too early and itíll be a pile of twigs and needles by Christmas but too late and you run the risk of getting a runt that no one else wanted. Although these runt trees can have more character so itís not all bad.
You need to keep it watered so you need a waterproof area for it, even if itís just the bucket you keep it in. And water near electric lights is always going to be a concern because, of course, the tree must have lights, itís not a Christmas tree if it doesnít.
We quite often give the tree a little lemonade with itís water for itís first official watering (that is when itís actually put up, because it can sit in a bucket for up to a week in the kitchen before we put it up properly). I donít know if it actually helps but theyíve never complained so far. One of my favourite tree memories is from when we put them in the big bucket I mentioned a while ago. Back then the tree used to sit outside for a few days with only rain water (if it rained) so when we put them up I could hear a glugging sound once in a while as the tree drank. It was lovely. But we keep our trees more hydrated now and they have a special stand so they canít make the glug noise anymore.

Of course no matter what you do you will never stop the needles falling off so you must either be prepared to vacuum regularly or get on the floor and sweep like crazy.
Our trees have the unfortunate added disadvantage of being in front of a radiator. Itís a small one but still a radiator. Stanley (this yearís tree) did very well though and only the very tips of the branch that was unfortunate enough to actually touch the radiator showed signs of drying. But those needles still stayed on and just turned a pale yellowish green and only as far as where it actually toughed the radiator so there is a distinct line where pale green becomes regular healthy green. Itís fascinating really.

Also there is always the possibility that your real tree may come with bugs and/or spiders in it (a year or so ago I read a story about how a spider in a Christmas tree is a tradition/lucky in some traditions but Iíll tell you that another time).

But none of these things are a problem really. None of them are hard to deal with and theyíre all worth it to have this majestic entity in your home and they smell so wonderful. (When we got the tree I noticed a little tub of green sticks and wondered what sort of decorations they were supposed to be, until I read the label. Pine scented sticks to put on your artificial tree to make it smell like a real one. Seriously? If you want a fake tree then by all means have a fake tree but you donít get to get away with putting some artificial scent crap on it. If you want your tree to smell like a real one then get a real one. If you stick a concentrated scent on the tree then youíll get strong and weak spots and some spots with no scent at all. A real tree has scent all over and is just wonderful (yes. I really love the smell Iíve gone over this before))

No. All in all none of these things are a problem if you want a real tree. There is only one problem with having a real tree. The hardest thing to do.

Letting it go.

Knowing that itís going to be taken away by the rubbish collectors and chopped up and then who knows what? I truly hope that they go on to become fertiliser or something like that and that they arenít just dumped or destroyed once theyíve been chipped (I assume theyíd go through a wood chipper) Maybe even become paper. That would be good. But I much prefer the fertiliser idea. It would be wonderful if they could live on by nourishing other plants.

After Christmas the tree might get one last watering and then I generally leave them to die. Now. Donít get me wrong. I think itís pretty clear to you that I love trees and want them to last as long as possible. But I also know/accept that once Christmas is over the tree will be thrown out eventually. Usually in the first week or so of January. So I hope that, by that time, the tree will have started to dry up and not look as fresh, so I can think of it as dead and it will be easier for me to put it out. But Stanley seems to be a very stubborn tree. His needles are still mostly dark green, smooth and shiny on the top. If you look closely youíll see some pale needles with dark tips that are less than healthy and the aforementioned radiator branch. But, for the most part, he looks like he was just bought yesterday. I donít know why. Maybe itís because we got it at a good time. Maybe the temperature has been better for it (mum forgot to put the central heating on all day on Christmas day because it wasnít really cold enough and in the evening, when I felt cold, I just put on a blanket and waited for the heating to come on as usual. No one else seemed to feel chilly). Maybe it was the lemonade (I got some small cans instead of a big bottle this year because I had a few cans left over from earlier in the year (I got them when I had a cold because I was worried Iíd get a fever and mumís recommended cure for a cold is lemonade but I was fine and only had a can or two out of the six pack) so I just got some small cans so weíd have enough for Christmas day, because my dad usually has lemonade and I half and half it with cola at Christmas) so I gave one of the small cans that are intended as a mixer (I think, thatís why theyíre smaller but theyíre cute). So maybe that was just the right amount and/or type of lemonade to nourish the tree. (In the end I did get a 2 liter bottle of lemonade as well because it made more sense but my dad didnít drink it after all and opted for my cherry cola purely because it was mine. I didnít actually mind sharing because I had an old bottle a few months old that mum gave him and I also got an eight pack which I thought was six regular and two bonus cherry cans but turned out to be all cherry. That was a nice surprise. I used to just have regular cola but cherry was always my favourite and as I only usually drink it for Christmas I decided to treat myself to cherry. I did it last year too).
Or maybe itís just the type of tree that that has made it last so well. Perhaps a new, hardier breed that the farmers have engineered.
Maybe itís a combination of all three. Either way the three still looks, feels and smells lovely and because of that it hurts me a little more to throw it out. Even though I know we have to. It still has most of itís needles. Weíve had trees that shed a lot worse in previous years so Iím very proud of this tree. I hope the tree farmers who grew him were proud of him. Heís a credit to them.

This year itís even harder than usual because mumís old Christmas tree (in the garden) fell down and I still feel the loss very strongly (even though heís still propped up in the bin in the garden and still mostly green I know and have to accept that heís dead really. The second a tree is cut/falls it is dead. They canít live without roots. Additionally all of my cuttings are dying too. Iím not sure if the rooting powder just didnít take (as Iíd been told it wouldnít) or if Iíve over or under watered them).

This time of year I get to see the state of the trees that other people put out. Loving trees as I do Iím almost appalled. Why do people buy real trees that are stuck in a piece of wood? Surely you canít water them. I saw one tonight and felt so sorry for it. Itís in a very sorry state. It still has a good amount of needles but itís so dry and limp. I dread to think when it was last watered. You compare a poor thing like that to our tree theyíre completely different.

Of course the state of the trees depends on various factors. Those previously listed and the type of tree, when it was first cut, how long it has been in storage before it was sold and how/where it was stored before being sold and how it has been presented. That sad tree in the street had no hope of being watered because of how it was presented but ours, just a tree that was simply cut, was kept o outside at the retailer we got it from so it had the chance to try and absorb rain water before we bought it and then was able to drink once we got it.

Anyway. It comforts me to know that Stanley wonít be alone. In addition to the sad looking tree and any others that may go with it, it has our wreath for company too. The wreath is very dry and brittle (I sprayed it with water while it was sitting in the kitchen waiting to be put up but I couldnít dunk it in water like the tree so of course it would dry out first. But is also still smelled wonderful).

Iíll have to vacuum tomorrow (since it was gone midnight when we put the tree out it would be too late to start vacuuming and I donít want to disturb the neighbours) but now the tree is out of the way I can get the window stickers down. Thatís usually the only thing I worry about being up by twelfth night. Iím not bothered by the tree because, once you take the decorations off, itís not really a Christmas tree anymore. Itís a potted plant, in my opinion at least.

Well. I think youíre getting bored of my gushing admiration for trees. Itís worth noting that I watched a fascinating documentary about trees last night. For fun I decided to watch it with our Christmas tree because I, predictably, project a human personality onto the trees. Of course these are things that a tree would already know about themselves but I figured it offered him an insight into how humans perceive trees at least.
You already know Iím a strange person.


  1. tailor STATELY's Avatar
    I love trees too. I'm blessed to live within a few miles of a National Forest; we actually abut to some BLM property. A scripture I read yesterday touched my heart: "And out of the ground made I, the Lord God, to grow every tree, naturally, that is pleasant to the sight of man; and man could behold it. And it became also a living soul. For it was spiritual in the day that I created it..."

    Regarding Christmas trees I have a couple of amusing stories:

    Years ago, 1974 actually, a roommate and I put up a small Christmas tree before Christmas. We kept it up after Christmas and then moved to another location taking the tree with us. Months later I began dating my soon to be, and current, wife. She thought it tacky we never put the tree to the curb after what must have been 10-mo.s or so. When I moved out the tree was still up.

    Years later my wife and I purchased a local tree, we're inundated with Christmas Tree farms, and brought it home. After decorating the tree one night we started hearing this crunch-crunch noise coming from the tree. We surmised our tree had some sort of beetle and we just lived with it to the end... a very Happy Crunchmas it was. Unfortunately this may have been a harbinger of things to come... the beetles have become a bane to our area and have destroyed millions of trees

    For years now no Christmas trees in my home: mostly due to my daughter and her family, whom we share the property with now, putting up a tree in her modest home. It's an artificial tree for the last number of years, but before the change to artificial trees her last "real" tree was topped from a tree outside my dining room window that still thrives topless, so to speak, albeit surrounded by cedars we transplanted from off the side of the road.

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
  2. Virgil's Avatar
    Another reason to get a fake tree is that they are fire resistant while real trees could essentially be a match. But real trees smell and look nicer, I grant you.