Gardening column: Garden foliage brightens day

Back in the good old days, families would take axe in hand, trek into the local forest and cut down the perfect Christmas tree.  

We would put it up with its’ fresh, piney smell, decorate it Christmas Eve and then take it down just after welcoming in the New Year! Many of us would use the wood after for our fireplaces, leaving not a trace of the tree that graced our living rooms during the holidays.

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With the advent of apartment and townhouse living and generally an ease of use and safety concerns, many people have moved to erecting a plastic replica of our forest friend, some even accompanied by a spray can of that piney smell!  

Along with convenience has come some concerns of unfriendly environmental issues surrounding the making of the plastic trees and the distance travelled shipping them to our local stores. Purchasing a cut tree from a nursery or Christmas tree farm has its issues, also. Many people don’t like the fact the tree is cut down to be thrown out after Christmas.

There is a wonderful movement of people who are purchasing small, coniferous trees in containers which can be moved outside or into a garden after the holidays.  

The Richmond Garden Club has a brilliant suggestion for contributing to protecting our environment along with brightening up our dreary winter days!

For those who have not already purchased and set up your choice of Christmas tree for this year, here is an idea that will be environmentally friendly and will brighten your days through the winter months. 

Did you know that a burst of cheery yellow foliage can lift your spirits and brighten your garden? Gold foliage is like a ray of sunshine. Even if you have your Christmas tree festooned for the holidays, visit your local nursery and see if you can find a coniferous tree with gold needles at this time of year! Bring it home in the pot that it is in and after the holiday season place it in your garden or patio in direct line of your vision.  

A beautiful and unusual dwarf conifer I am on the hunt for is the Chief Joseph pine, pinus contorta Chief Joseph. What a stunning display of bright yellow to light up my dreary garden view!

Let’s start a movement of creating less waste and more beauty in our environment by bringing home a little potted yellow foliaged tree for the holiday season. 

Your neighbours will appreciate the brilliant ray of sunshine in your garden!

Lynda Pasacreta is the current president of the Richmond Garden Club. For more information, visit

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