Fantastic Gardeners tackles a wide range of exterior maintenance and design projects with professionalism and expertise. Enjoy your time and read some of the most exciting articles and news from the world of gardening and landscaping.
Many UK homeowners nowadays have abandoned the idea of gardening their street-facing green space, whether they have given a priority to their car parking needs or have just decided on tending to a low-maintenance front lawn. Their focus is often placed on the backyard, where they can enjoy a green retreat in privacy. So, are […]
Most of the time, overgrown or sick trees are simply a nuisance, an eyesore in your otherwise impeccable garden. Sometimes, however, they can also mean trouble and your best course of action will often be to contact a specialist. But just how much will hiring a tree surgeon cost you? Well, whether it’s a maintenance-related […]
It is often said that beauty lies in simplicity. Rock gardens are the very embodiment of that saying. With a bit of thoughtful planning, what initially may seem like a bland mixture of rocks and plants can, in skilled hands, quickly turn into the peaceful retreat that any home needs. If you’ve been playing with […]
Orchid seeds are widely available and can be a wonderful addition to your garden. They’re suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardening. It also possesses a lot of environmental, health and beauty benefits besides being a beautiful flower. However, taking care of orchid might seem a tedious task sometimes if you don’t know the right […]
Water is the source of all life, but too much water can cause significant problems even in the garden space. For instance, surplus water can promote root rot and diseases amongst plants. If your green space turns into a poodle-land every time it rains, this may indicate that your garden is in dire need of […]
Hedera, which we commonly refer to as English Ivy (pl. Ivies), is a family of around 20 species of evergreen perennial plants. Depending on their surroundings, these woody plants can be both ground creeping or climbing nearby trees, rocks, buildings, and pretty much anything they can lay their stems on. Given a solid base, the […]
With Halloween behind us, Christmas is fast approaching and many businesses have already started putting up their holiday decorations. It is at this time that countless people throughout the country are faced with an annual dilemma, to buy a real Christmas tree or an artificial one.
While either option can be found on both the naughty and nice lists, the short answer is that real trees are the better choice for the environment. However, in order to make an informed decision as to what is best for your home, we will need to take a closer look at real and artificial trees.
Artificial Christmas Trees
If you were to enter a person’s home prior to the 1930’s you would only find real Christmas trees. This changed when the American toilet brush company, Addis Brush Company, created an artificial tree using brush bristles, inadvertently kickstarting an entire industry.
There are undeniable benefits to choosing an artificial Christmas tree over a real one. These include:
Guilt-free. Many of us don’t like the idea of cutting down a new tree every year to adorn our home for a month, artificial trees negate this guilt as they are re-usable.
Cost. Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year for most of us. With presents and higher energy bills it can be difficult for lower income families to also buy a new tree every year.
Convenience. Artificial trees are a lot more convenient than a real tree. They are stored easily and there is no need to walk around in the cold choosing the perfect tree.
Watering. Unlike their living counterparts, artificial trees are incredibly easy to care for. There is no need to water the tree in order to keep it looking healthy for the entire holiday season.
Pine needles. Another advantage is that artificial trees do not drop pine needles everywhere. This means more time to spend with your family instead of cleaning.
Transport. The final advantage to choosing an artificial tree is that you don’t need to worry about transporting it to your home. Most fake Christmas trees come with a package that fits into your car and after the holidays you can easily store it in your attic, garage or closet.
Nothing in this life exists without flaws. This is especially true in the Christmas tree debate. The major disadvantages to choosing an artificial Christmas tree include:
Environmental impact. While you may think that buying an artificial tree is better for the environment since it doesn’t involve cutting down a healthy tree every year, a study conducted by an environmental consulting firm based in Montreal has turned this concept on its head. The researchers found that you would have to re-use an artificial tree for twenty years to be more ecologically friendly than their living counterparts.
Carbon footprint. The researchers mentioned above reached their conclusion by taking the production method, materials, and waste products into account. The production process requires an incredibly large amount of energy and since most artificial trees contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) the waste materials are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Non recyclable, non biodegradable. It should come as no surprise that plastic trees are not biodegradable, which is why many landfills are populated by broken artificial Christmas trees. But you may not know that fake trees are not made from recycled material and they also cannot be recycled.
Have a Jolly Holiday with a Real Christmas Tree by Fantastic Gardeners
How to select a non-toxic artificial Christmas tree
Artificial trees made from PVC often contain other toxic materials, such as lead, to stabilise the shape of the branches and bristles. Prolonged exposure to such materials has been shown to play a major role in stunting early-childhood development as well as nerve damage. Many scientists now believe that there is no safe level of exposure to lead.
The good news is that many companies are moving away from 100% PVC trees in favour of a mix of polyethylene (PE) and PVC. This method not only reduces the potential toxicity it also allows the trees to look more realistic. Three-dimensional PE bristles occupy the majority of the branch with flat PVC bristles filling the back of branches.
If you will be buying an artificial tree this year, check the tips below in order to choose one with the lowest toxicity.
Look for the phrase ‘molded tips’ on the packaging.
Check the bristles at the front of branches. PE bristles are rounded and life-like whereas PVC bristles are flat.
Real Christmas Trees
If you were to ask people what comes to mind when asked about the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree, most of us would picture a large, healthy, real pine or fir tree. Although there are undeniable benefits to choosing an artificial tree, real trees also have their good points.
Treecycling. Knowing what to do with a real tree after Christmas is one of the reasons people opt for artificial trees, but there are a multitude of ways to repurpose that browning tree. You can replant it for re-use next year, donate it to a local zoo to be used as a big cat toy, repurpose the wood to be used to build garden ornaments, or simply recycle it by cutting it into logs for your fire. For more information on treecycling check out our article by clicking here.
Slim to none environmental impact. As the picture above suggests, nowadays real Christmas trees are grown in organic farms, which reduces to a minimum the environmental impact when cutting the tree.
Mulching. Send your old tree to be recycled and it will, most likely, be turned into chips to be used as footpath material or mulched to be used in landscaping.
Organic tree farms. A lot of Christmas tree farms nowadays are organic. They grow trees in a sustainable manner and don’t use pesticides. Buying from an organic provider can give you peace of mind that the tree is environmentally friendly and you aren’t bringing potentially dangerous chemicals into your home.
Wildlife habitats. Large Christmas tree farms grow more trees than they will sell and there is a constant cycle of new growth. These reforested areas provide excellent habitats for a lot of wildlife such as birds and small mammals.
Tradition. Continuing with certain traditions can bring us a sense of comfort and reignite happy family memories. This is especially true for Christmas traditions.
Look, feel, smell. No matter how realistic artificial trees get they will never be able to match the look, feel, and smell of a real tree. Since our senses are assaulted by Christmas decorations from mid-October a lot of us have become numb to their effects, however there are certain smells which invoke the Christmas spirit and a real pine or fir tree is one of those.
Transport. Transporting your fresh Christmas tree from the farm can be a hassle, especially if your car is not large enough to hold it. Plus, the cost of having it delivered can be expensive if you don’t live close to the farm.
Disposal. While the issue with sending artificial trees to the landfill is that they are non biodegradable, the opposite is true for real trees. As pine and fir trees rot they release large amounts of methane and other gases into the environment. the gases of one tree may not amount to much in the greater scheme of things but imagine the effect millions of rotting trees can have.
There are quite a few Christmas tree myths floating around, the most popular of which are concerned with the fire risk posed by real and artificial trees.
There is a common belief that real trees are at a greater risk of catching fire. This is mostly due to the fact that artificial trees have a fire-retardant coating. Although real trees can catch fire faster, flame-retardant artificial trees will resist fire for some time. When they do burn, they emit large amounts of highly toxic smoke.
So as long as your properly care for your real Christmas tree it is much less likely to pose a fire risk than an artificial one. Follow these tips to reduce the chances of a Christmas tree fire.
Choose the freshest looking tree, avoid trees which are dry or browning.
If the tree was pre-cut, cut the stump down by one or two centimetres and place it in water.
Water the tree regularly.
Clean up all dropped needles around the tree.
Do not overload the tree with lights. Try not to overload electrical sockets as well.
Switch the tree lights off at night before going to bed.
So there we have it, your definitive guide to the difference between real and artificial Christmas trees. After taking everything into consideration, we support and recommend the use of real Christmas trees. Not only are they better for the environment, they also carry a sense of nostalgia and perfectly embody the Christmas spirit.
To make this Christmas less stressful, we are offering a Christmas tree delivery, installation and disposal/recycling service. You can order all or just one of the services and a team of professionals will arrive with your tree. Once Christmas is over, you don’t need to worry about what to do with the tree as our teams can come to collect and recycle it. Contact us now for a quote from one of our Fantastic representatives.
Did we miss anything? Do have any tips for choosing a Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on social media!
The all-year round wait is over – Fantastic Gardeners brings you the jolly hugs of evergreen trees! From this month forward, real Christmas tree delivery is available at every door in London. Forget the hassle and concentrate on gift selection or yummy recipe browsing, while we take care of the centrepiece in your holiday decoration.
Why Fantastic Christmas Tree Delivery?
Fantastic Gardeners game up to deliver a premium-grade service with the everlasting popularity of Nordmann Fir Christmas trees. You will receive a high-quality product, grown in an eco-sustainable environment in Denmark and Scotland. Here’s what you can expect from our service:
Contact a member of the jolly sales office – specify the size of your desired tree, as well as the time you need it supplied.
Delivery – when the time comes, a technician will come with your fresh tree, delivered at your doorstep;
Free Installation – in order to extend the tree lifetime, the gardener will chop off a little part from the trunk, so that it absorbs water easier;
Complimentary stand – for a longer lasting effect, we will place your Christmas tree on a special stand that will keep it alive and healthy throughout the entirety of the holidays.
Decorating – if you won’t have enough time between all the hustles around the holidays to think about lights, candles, balls and garlands, leave the decoration to the helpful gardener.
Green Waste Collection – a special “tree-cycling” service is available for pre-booking together with the Christmas tree delivery, which will result in a £29 discount for tree collection after the holidays.
Deck the Halls with Real Christmas Tree by Fantastic Gardeners
Sturdiness. This type of a Christmas tree is sturdier than the Norway Spruce, which is also popular, but quite fragile. It will last for around a month in a proper shape before the needles start falling off. This also depends on other factors, such as presence of heaters, excessive air conditioning or sudden temperature amplitudes.
Christmas fragrance. The Nordman Fir has a specific, delicate pine smell, that doesn’t interfere with the many fragrances in your Christmas home.
Environmentally better. A real Christmas tree has multiple advantages over an artificial tree, and, contrary to what you may think, it’s better for the environment. The artificial tree material is, in most of the cases, a non-recyclable plastic. Left in a landfill, it will take generations to degrade.
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The Nordman Fir fits both for outdoor and indoor environment. However, its needles remain intact for longer if you place it indoors.
High-quality non-drop needles. Its needles are dark-green on top and have white-blue stripes below. This gives depth of colour and more vividness. What’s more, the Fantastic Nordmann Fir Trees come with non-drop needles, compared to other Christmas trees, which means less sweeping from your side.
As it is with any cut plants, you need to treat your Christmas tree right. That means, providing a water reservoir stand is a must for a long-lasting effect. Luckily, our trees come with a complimentary one, which will satisfy its water needs and will make your life even easier.
Hop on the holiday sleigh and pre-book online Christmas tree delivery
As the country begins taking stock of the damage caused by hurricane Ophelia and works to restore power to much of Scotland and Northern England, gardeners throughout the country are lamenting the destruction of their gardens.
It may seem strange to worry about a ruined garden while there are people living without electricity, but many of us pour our hearts, souls, hard work, and time into crafting our ideal garden space. Gardens provide a refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life where we can relax and forget about the world beyond the garden fence for a little while. So, to see the sanctuary you have created ruined can be disheartening, to say the least.
As upsetting as watching your hard work vanish overnight may be, it is a good reminder that some things are simply beyond our control. As such, rather than getting upset or angry, use that energy to refill your gardener’s optimism. Look at the damage as an opportunity to improve and strengthen your garden rather than as a disaster.
What is weather damage?
Following periods of extreme weather or single events, such as storms or heatwaves, it is common to find damage on the plants in your garden. While assessing the damage it can be easy to mistake some of it for evidence of pests or disease as the symptoms are similar to those found in weather damaged plants.
The main symptoms to look for when inspecting your plants are:
Brown leaves. The browning of leaves can occur on plants following large storms with a heavy, prolonged rainfall. This causes the soil around the roots to become waterlogged which causes buried roots to rot.
Scorched leaves. Finding scorched leaves or smaller scorch marks shows that the plant is using water faster than it is replenished. You will usually notice this during or after heatwaves.
Physical damage. This is the easiest type of damage to spot as it can be quite striking. Storms and high winds or fully capable of snapping branches and uprooting entire trees.
Dieback. The wilting of shoots or the browning of entire plants is a sign that nutrients and moisture are not reaching the leaves, this can be caused by some pests, disease, or fungus but it can be caused just as easily by waterlogged soil following a storm or dry soil following a drought.
When a weather warning is issued many of us begin making preparations to limit any potential damage to our family, home, and car, but few remember to make similar preparations to protect their garden.
Making the time to take a few preventative measures in your garden before an extreme weather event can greatly reduce the damage done to plants, garden structures such as sheds, and your home. Use the tips below to prepare your garden for the next storm.
Tidy up. Walk around your garden and collect any loose items such as garden tools, children’s toys, furniture, and fallen branches. The wind can blow debris around quite violently and cause damage to walls or break windows, collect and store items or debris out of the wind to remove this unnecessary risk.
Inspect trees and shrubs. Check the branches and roots of any trees and shrubs in your garden. Any broken branches should be removed and exposed roots should be covered. Doing this helps to protect the plant from additional physical damage caused by branches being torn off. It also reduces the chances of a plant being uprooted.
Trim top heavy flowering plants. If you have top-heavy plants such as roses in your garden it is advisable to trim them back before the storm arrives, even if it is not yet pruning season. Top heavy flowering plants are at a greater risk of being uprooted as heavy flower heads provide a great deal of wind resistance.
Pay closer attention to fir trees. Members of the fir tree family are exceptionally vulnerable in the face of high winds due to their dense foliage and height. Inspect the trees and remove any broken or dead branches. Consider reducing the height of the tree if the weather is good enough before the arrival of the storm.
Keep off the grass. It is best to wait for the weather to improve before walking or working on a lawn following a storm, especially if there was heavy rain. Lawns, after a storm are quite easy to damage. As the waterlogged soil cannot support additional weight, deep ruts in the ground can be formed by simply moving a lightly loaded wheelbarrow across wet grass. In extreme cases, an average adults weight can be enough to leave depressions along their route across the lawn.
If you were unable to make the above-mentioned preparations due to time constrictions or because the storm is arriving ahead of schedule, don’t mourn the loss of your garden just yet.
Here are five last-minute tips to help protect your garden.
Place potted plants and hanging baskets in a shed, garage, or conservatory to stop them ending up in your neighbour’s garden.
Group the larger plant pots together and lay potted trees on their side in an area protected from the wind.
Clean your roof gutters. Removing any leaves and twigs ensures that rainwater has an unimpeded path to the drain.
Tie securely vines or climbing plants to their supports with twine or string.
Stalk younger trees to secure them. Drive a 2×4 deep into the ground (around half a meter or more) and strap it securely to the tree trunk. The twine or string should have a little slack so that the trunk can move in the wind.
So there we have it, your quick guide on how to prepare your garden to survive a hurricane. As long as you remove any items or debris which can be blown by the wind, trim top-heavy plants, and maintain an optimistic outlook, your garden will not only flourish once the storm has passed – it will also be stronger.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any tips for preparing a garden for a hurricane? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on social media!