Guerrilla garlanding, golden Xmas trees, ‘finding disease on the trees that it’s wrecked’
1. Guerrilla garlanding is back. I invented the term in 2009 to describe festive revellers putting Christmas decorations on trees in parks and gardens after I saw this tree on Wimbledon Common. This year, the decorated fir, which annoyed Common Conservators in 2009, is back. Will this take off for 2012?
##Recession-busting guerrilla grotto-ers are brightening up Britain’s parks, gardens and open spaces by decorating outdoor conifers with tinsel, baubles and fairies. This decorated tree on Wimbledon Common has been a fixture for years, say the common’s conservators. But several other decorated trees appeared overnight this year on the common. Anarchic guerrilla garlanders are competing against each other on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter to show their best. A mole tells me: “No-one knows who does it. But it brightens the place up in winter and the recession. We think it is local people – but it could be the Wombles. Who knows? The best thing is that no-one has vandalised the trees.” Have you noticed festive guerrilla grottos appearing near you?
3. Adam Pasco’s leaving do at BBC in Hammersmith. Someone asked if I was going. I emailed AP to blag an invite. He said it was a surprise party for him and to email to organisers. Oops. James Alexander Sinclair tweeted a pic during the event so I nipped round from work to wave at Matthew Wilson and drink a glass of fizz and chat to Helen Griffin from Frances Lincoln and Graham Rice, mainly about John Terry’s Cobham garden building. AP gave a nice speech mentioning Hort Week and how Haymarket paid him £6k a year for his first mag job.
4. Spotted: Gail Porter and Nina Conti in Coach and Horses.
5. A pony perplexing German commuters on the subway has become the latest internet sensation.
Expecting a golden Christmas present? This year’s Christmas trees are set to be yellower than in previous years.
This year’s record rainfall washed away nitrogen fertiliser granules applied to feed trees and make them green, or
pushed liquid nitrogen farther into the ground than roots can reach.
Champion grower Geoff Gilbert, said this year’s record rainfall had led to trees being more yellow than usual: “If it gets too wet they can’t take up the nitrogen and some get a bit yellow. People put nitrogen on them in September to green them up because it’s been that wet and the nitrogen hasn’t greened them. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of yellow. A good tree’s colour and shape is in the eye of the beholder. It’s the freshness that counts. The yellow doesn’t mean it’s a bad tree, it’s the heaviness you should test. If it’s heavy it means it’s good and full of sap.”
The winners of the Champion Wreath accolade from Woods Farm, Solihull, had their decorated wreath placed on number 10′ Downing Street’s door this month.
Woods Farm owner Gilbert said he was retailing trees direct to the public for £40 for a six foot Nordman from his Birmingham outlet. He claims to supply “half” of all Birmingham’s trees.
This year’s winner, Mike Craig of Garrocher Tree Farm in Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway, delivered the tree to stand outside 10 Downing Street. Craig said yellowing of trees has been an issue in recent wet years: “It is quite a problem because we are on the west coast of Scotland and we get more wet than anywhere. We did struggle with that. We ended up fertilising three times and they were still deficient. And if you overdo the fertiliser it weakens the leader at the top of the tree and that can lead to your fairy or star flopping. It’s too much rain and lack of sunlight that does it.”
Runners up Richard and Gail Underwood of Oakberry Trees, Lutterworth, provided the centrepiece for the Pillared Room inside the Prime Minister’s home.
Richard Underwood said: “The trees are probably a little lighter in shade than normal but I wouldn’t say there’s a problem with that. If you were being particularly observant you would notice it. Some people rather like the lighter colour of needle.”
Each year, the BCTGA hosts the Christmas Tree Competition to find the country’s Champion Christmas Tree Grower. The 14th annual competition was held at Berkshire College of Agriculture in October.
Meanwhile, Christmas trees prices can vary by up to £25 for the same sized Nordman fir, Britain’s most popular tree, surveys have found.
Garden centres are varying how they size trees but prices for six foot Nordmans vary from £29.98 to £54.99 in a survey. Ikea’s a £1 now.
7. Steve Ween pothole gardener Merry Xmas vid.
8. Spotted: Sinclair’s Tara ‘cartwheeling’ Truman on Total Wipeout. Her time was 2.23.
9. Fera xmas card
Scientists were working, to put the world right
Our food and environment needed some care
To be rid of diseases, both common and rare
First thoughts went to farmers to help with their yield
They looked at the way our veg grows in the field
They helped stop disease through their science and their knowledge
They looked at the bugs that on crops like to forage
They checked all the food that’s shipped in from abroad
And advised on its packaging and the way that it’s stored
Then looked at the wildlife from bug, bird and bee
From behaviour and habitat to see what they’d see
They ran tests on vet meds and advised what to do
To ensure that the food chain’s protected for you
From pigs through to cattle and turkeys as well
Ensuring their produce was all safe to sell
Widening the focus, plant health was then checked
Finding disease on the trees that it’s wrecked
Advising and nurturing, from leaf, root through stem
They went out to our nurseries, liaising with them
Policies created, protected by science
Customer base, all in full compliance
The science progresses, the work more intense
Protecting our world, you know it makes sense!
The examples fore-mentioned, are but a few
To depict but a sample of work that we do
And as Christmas draws nearer , with full festive cheer