When I moved to a Victorian farm cottage on the outskirts of Sudbury, Suffolk, I noticed that there were several Christmas trees of varying heights planted along the boundaries. I decided that previous occupants of the house had planted out successive festive trees, once they had been indoors for the ‘season’. I didn’t follow suit. Instead I used twisted willow branches some years and strong holly branches, full of berries, as my tree substitutes. One of my American friends told me that his tree was that most festive of specimens: Pinus plasticus…. Well I never!
I did pay homage to the Christmas tree and wrote a book, The Christmas Tree, about the tree’s history and the legends associated with it. I learned how many different species were grown for use as indoor trees. I discovered how they became public and domestic favourites and each year now I enjoy hearing about the growing of Christmas trees commercially, the installing of trees in public places such as Trafalgar Square and Downing Street, and I love trying to find the most incongruous tree decorations to add to my ‘growing’ collection of small trees made from wire brushes, glass, pottery, wood and metal.
When I moved into the local town I thought I would purchase a pair of small trees just to grace the mantelpiece in the living room.
They were sprayed with glitter and I thought that beyond Christmas they would disappear, as do seasonal poinsettias and other festive plants. But, they thrived outside and although I would be quite happy to say farewell to them, there they are: now too large to fit above the fireplace, but too prickly to be at the front door.
ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Through a series of beautiful photographs and illustrations The Christmas Tree relates the ancient and modern story of this ever-popular tree. With chapters on trimming and lighting, present-giving, famous trees, where to find and how to grow your own tree, it tells you everything you want to know. Exquisitely produced, The Christmas Tree makes the perfect Christmas present.