As a child, I loved decorating the tree and have carried on enjoying this pleasure as an adult. The tough part of the tradition comes after Christmas, when the poor tree has dropped its needles and spends weeks at the end of the garden before being chopped up and wrestled into a wheelie bin.

A couple of years ago, I decided to spend our tree budget (about £40.00) on a British grown ‘living Christmas tree’ from a local nursery. The investment afforded us a 3ft pine that brought derision from my stepsons at its puny dimensions and height. In the back of my mind I thought, we’ll be back to a ‘single use’ one next year! It was duly transplanted from its pot into a much larger black trug with drainage holes. I used a bag of Lakeland Gold, left over from mulching season, to bed it in and the container was nearly as big as the tree!

Sure enough, come January, it was abandoned at the end of the garden and forgotten. Occasionally I’d have a look at it as it gradually became lopsided pushed against the hedge. Around November I let it have more light and space and was surprised how quickly it expanded outwards. When it came to decorating with Christmas baubles, I realised it had put on at least a foot of growth over the year.

Another year on and with better care throughout 2020, I’m pleased to report it’s doing rather well. Perhaps 5.0 foot in height and has a decent spread and healthy needles. The slightly acidic Lakeland Gold seems to have suited the tree and the open structure of Lakeland Gold has stopped it getting waterlogged.

It’s good to share at Christmas so here is the ‘British grown living Christmas tree’ fully dressed and thriving in Dalefoot Compost’s Lakeland Gold. Happy Christmas to one and all!



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Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

This project is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

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