London Flower Service

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Responsible Christmas Tree custodians required


Every year we, here in the UK, buy 8 million live Christmas trees. Every
year we, here in the UK, throw away 8 million dead Christmas trees! FACT.
How much space, do you think, is taken up in our precious land fill sites by
8 million dead Christmas trees? A heck of a lot – that’s for sure. So how
do we overcome this prickly problem?

Firstly, when we buy our Christmas tree, we take time to carefully choose
our fireside companion. We buy the one we like the look of the most, the
best looking tree we can find, we are choosing a Christmas tree partner, in
fact, one that will accompany us through the whole party season and still
look cheerful, bright and festive even when we’re reaching for the aspirin.
When we get it home we spend time carefully decorating it to make it the
centre of attraction. Sometimes we may adorn it with decorations that we
have had since we were small children, only to feel the nostalgia of long
forgotten Christmases past flooding back. Or perhaps we go to a department
store and spend a king’s ransom on new decorations, carefully colour
coordinating balls, bows, ribbons and lights to make our new house guest
dressed to kill. We then bestow our precious gifts beneath it’s boughs for
safe keeping until the big day arrives.

When the presents have long been opened, receipts swapped and the old year
sent packing, our once enthusiastically welcomed guest is stripped of it’s
fine garments and tossed unceremoniously out of the house like an odious,
ungrateful relative who has outstayed their welcome. Why would you discard
your Christmas tree friend thus, what has this tree done to be so cruelly
tossed away? Why can we not bestow one last act of Christmas good will and
kindness upon our once loved Christmas tree everlasting life?

Chistmas treesThroughout London and in many other boroughs and counties across the UK
trees are found tossed into canals, dumped in street bins and loitering,
unloved on street corners, but there is another way, if only we could just
make one more little bit of effort we could recycle our ex flat mates and
house guests to give life again. In London alone, 27 of the 33 boroughs are
offering a collect-from-home service to pick up the trees (shame on you the
six who are not). Some are even offering to take Christmas trees still in
their stands, with all their decorations still on, for those who are either
too busy, lazy or rich, to undress their tree. These trees will then be
taken off to be shredded (without decorations) turned into compost which
will then be distributed to the various parks within the local borough.

For those of you not lucky enough to have this service provided by your
local authority there are other things which you can do to go green with a
Christmas Tree. If you cut off all the branches with a pair of secateurs
you can compost the smaller ones which breakdown surprisingly quickly.
Slightly larger branches placed out of sight at the back of the border, they
will eventually rot down but in the meantime make great homes for insects.
If you’re insect inclined, try cutting all the branches off to leave just
the trunk, then cutting the trunk up into short, even length sections and
drilling random length holes up into the stem then placing into wooden box
to hold into position – this makes a brilliant bee-hotel.

On a more industrial sized scale, there are some great ideas coming from our
American cousins across the pond. Take one large fishing lake, ask all of
the locals to load the ‘Ute’ with their unwanted tree and bring it down to
the lake where they will gratefully take it off your hands. The trees are
then roped together and tied to heavy cinder blocks and dropped into the
middle of the lake to take residence at the bottom of the lake. The trees
make fabulous nurseries for the fry (baby fish) to hide from larger
predators and within a short period of time attract algae and insects for
the young fish to feed on, creating even greater diversity in the lake. In
coastal areas where sand erosion is a problem, old Christmas trees are tied
or buried next to fences. This causes sand to collect around the trees as
they form a natural wind break and in time this turns into a sand dune, this
in turn gives a foothold for grasses, insects and birds and becomes a
natural non-eroding habitat again.

All in all, if in doubt about the fate of your Christmas companion, ring
your local authority who will advise you on the times, dates and places to
give your tree a new purpose in life.


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