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Society & Success

Break the norm with these trees

People stand near a an illuminated Christmas tree in Milan. AFP PHOTO | Marco BERTORELLO
People stand near a an illuminated Christmas tree in Milan. AFP PHOTO | Marco BERTORELLO 

So it’s Christmas, you are meant to play host but are suffering a mental block as far as decorative plants are concerned.

While plastic/artificial Christmas trees may serve the purpose, any nature enthusiast will tell you there is delight in having the real deal.

The Christmas tree is usually an evergreen conifer that is decorated to symbolise life, the supreme gift of God to humanity.

In the ancient days, the tree was decorated with roses, round ornaments and apples to represent the fruit of knowledge of good and evil from the first book in the Bible, Genesis.

Later on, the trees were illuminated by candles before these were replaced with Christmas lights with the advent of electrification.

Today, ornaments on the tree include tinsel, candy canes, garlands and baubles as well as a star or an angel at the apex.

Christmas tree

Regina Wanjaa, a tree dealer along Nairobi’s Ngong Road says the Christmas tree can either be cut or live and it can be placed indoors or outdoors depending on preferences.

“Since the tree is the centrepiece of any Christmas celebrating house, decorations picked should bring good cheer and accentuate its beauty,” she said.

Common varieties of the Christmas tree include Balsam fir, Douglas fir and Scotch pine. Of these, the Balsam fir is the most preferred pick since it is a natural corn shape thus needs minimal shearing to look perfect.

She says that since many holiday plants are tropical plants, caring for the Christmas tree should be like for any houseplant. If you are looking to divert from the norm this festive season, you could opt for other plant varieties as long as they keep within the Christmas message.

Poinsettia

Originally from Mexico, this plant is perhaps the most recognisable flower for Christmas, thanks to its red and green foliage.

This shrub that typically grows up to four metres, if placed in the right location can stay in bloom for up to six months.

“The poinsettia is loved for its colours and corn shape which makes it a go-to plant during the Christmas festivities” says Salome Wanjiru, a tree dealer along Nairobi’s Chiromo Drive.

These cheery plants which are grown indoors require darkness to change colour and abundant light during the day for the brightest bracts. The plants are usually disposed of once they start fading.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea varieties are native to southern and eastern Asia and are the stars in the summer garden whether grown in the ground or in containers.

Blooms of the plant come in shades of pink, purple, white and blue. Most often, the different hues are mixed to give a classy Christmas bouquet. The beauty of the flowers can stick around long after they bloom through drying and preserving them.

The dried flowers can be arranged in a variety of designs of to make great Christmas wreaths that can be hanged around the home.

Mandevilla and Gardenia plants

The Mandevilla vine can grow up to 10-feet tall and has glossy leaves and striking trumpet shaped flowers which make it a favourite for most gardeners.

Planting it in a pot then sitting it at the corner of the room or outdoor at the entrance, is a sight to behold for any visitor.

On the other hand, the Gardenia’s scented white flowers stand out from the attractive dark green foliage making it a unique Christmas gift.

The plant can either be grown outdoors or indoors as long as it gets bright light or filtered light opposed to direct sunlight.

Roses

They bring the magic of the festive season to your Christmas table and are a common feature on the Christmas tree.

Fresh roses in full bloom sitting in a flower vase are always refreshing, cheery and give a homely feel to the guests.

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