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December 5, 2018 – Published in Design & Decor Winter 2018 issue

The beautiful trees of winter

Words Victoria Galea

Trees are such an integral part of our lives that we so underrate their real importance for our continued existence. Whether it is for their wood or fruit, for their beauty or their shade; whether it is for their significant role in reducing erosion and moderating the climate, or maybe because of their contribution to our very air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, trees are unique in every way and greater attention is being given to their growth and sustainability world-wide.

In this particular season trees are looked at mostly as a thing of beauty. Unlike many norther countries winter in Malta is a beautiful season. Probably the best for trees due to a fundamental combination of rainwater, sun and the generally temperate climate.

All these elements make this the ideal time to invest in a living tree or two or more. Not only would you be enhancing your life, home, garden, terrace or drive-in, but you will also actually be contributing to the existence of the planet and your satisfaction is multiplied by much.

Each tree will add beauty in any season but in winter they somehow seem to give the winter landscape added interest. Glistening in the rain, swaying in the wind and even shorn of its leaves, a tree gives pleasure to all – human, bird, insect or animal – the tree gives something to everyone.

Whether it is the single statuesque beauty of a conifer, the scented majesty of the cedar, the unpretentious fruit-laden orange or the stark branches of a leaf-less tree, your choice will certainly add interest to your property.

The beauty of constant greenery, of scented air, fruit and blossoms is already great. However, there is something enigmatical even in the bare limbs of a tree against the sky or natural landscape. The mysterious magic of the tree is always there for those who are sensitive to it and somehow makes us retain a youthful wonder. Draping them with strings of lights, be it in the festive season of winter or any other season for that matter, somehow gives each space additional enchantment.

For those of you thinking of investing in trees, there are a number of low-maintenance evergreens which are ideal for the season and for the Maltese temperature, and which you ought to consider.

Evergreens for winter

How about a real, living tree (or more) this Christmas? It will give you a joy throughout the season and for many years to come. There is an immense selection from which to choose from but at the top of the list during the festive season one finds traditional choices

Picea abies – Norway Spruce

The beautiful Norway Spruce is what has come to be considered as the traditional Christmas tree with its attractively shaped form and lovely green scent. Spruces are actually native of Europe, they are disease resistance and have a lovely scent and colour. They will last for many years, making them an excellent choice for any garden. Always consider their final site as they are fast growers. In favourable conditions a spruce can reach great heights with a trunk that spans 1 – 1.5 metres diameter.

Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia

The poinsettia is the most iconic plant during the Christmas season. Usually found as a shrub or small tree, it does sometimes exceed 4 metres and can be found in several Maltese gardens where, being a native of Mexico, it has acclimatised very comfortably. The bright red bracts and dark green leaves are very popular at this time of the year but over the years a number of colours have been introduced and now one can find green, cream or white shrubs or even pink, orange and variegated ones.

Ilex – Holly

An obvious choice to many, despite the relative scarcity in Malta, is the iconic holly with its cheerful red berries and glossy green leaves. The Ilex is not the easiest plant for Malta. It requires specific care and conditions. Keep in mind that some varieties need both male and female plants but it is only the female that produces berries. Also, they may be slow growing but some varieties can reach great size and height. So, for the long term, always consider its site carefully.

Remember when purchasing your plants to always consult the garden centre assistants explaining your needs and the space available to ensure your selection of plants are ideal for you and your site. Remember that different plants have different needs.

Contact Louis Micallef at Green Supplier Ltd, Flower & Plants Growers, Mdawra Road, Burmarrad. Enquiries: 2157 1428

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