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Holiday cheer

December 1, 2017
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Hurricane season is past. November has left us. Thanksgiving 2017 is history. Lights are coming on all over the neighborhoods. Outdoor Christmas trees are going up and being lit. I'm beginning to see evergreen trees tied onto to car roofs. Christmas is coming.

I'm hearing that the Christmas tree supply may not be able to cover our needs this year. Prices are going up because of this lack, 10 percent, and may even go up 20 to 25 percent. It all came about in early 2000 when growers planted too many trees, which lead to flooding the market, lower prices and a lack of profit, forcing many growers out of the business, thus a low supply is now available. The recession of 2007-2009 didn't help. Since it takes nine to 10 years to grow a Frasier fir big enough to be cut, growers are predicting harvest levels might not return until, maybe 2021. The supply is tight, and may not be able to meet the demand. Not to worry or panic, the National Christmas Tree Association an-nounced that even though the supply is tight, everyone who wants one will be able to do so, at a 10 to 25 percent increase in price from last year. But some celebrators will be able to spare the extra expense when it comes to creating memories.

However, it seems, fake trees (I hate to say fake, hearing fake news so much these days grinds a nerve) - so artificial trees are now back in style. But even with those spray cans of pine fragrances being sold, nothing replaces the nostalgia of a real tree. This will make it more difficult for the future years of selling real trees.

Real trees need to be put in water as soon as possible, using a tree stand with a big enough reservoir is essential to keeping it fresh - no puny little bracing stand on a dry surface will do. It needs to be kept watered. Sap rushes to close the cut wound and seal it. Trim half an inch off the bottom and immediately let it drink up the water it needs. Remember to keep it watered and green.

Keep it away from any heat source. We don't really need to worry about that with our warm weather keeping furnaces off. Hopefully, air conditioning will kick in and help the tree. Stringing the lights comes next. Be sure light strands are not worn and frayed. Turn off the lights when you're not around to monitor them. Real trees have been known to catch on fire. Also, Facebook has posted an article about real Christmas trees are full of bugs, as many as 25,000 lurking in there. You're bringing them into your home. Even if you store them in the garage first to shake bugs out and off, the freshness of your tree is fading.

I felt downhearted when I first arrived down here and tried to put up garlands and wreaths of evergreens. The sunlight seemed to always hit the front door, drying my trimmings, shedding their needles everywhere. Certainly, didn't help with early decorating.

So, I gave in and bought a fake tree with lights. Last year the middle section had one light go out and the time spent finding that bugger was irritating.

A new twist to the tree presentation is the idea of hanging them upside down, from the ceiling. Some have the tree stand on the top of the tree to have it inverted on the floor. It may seem like a new craze, but, hanging upside down trees goes back to the Middle Ages. Saint Boniface of Devonshire in the seventh century used it to point out the triangle symbolizing the Trinity. It showed to the pagans that it was an intentional decoration, not a floral statement. By the 12th century, Christians were all intentionally hanging it upside down.

Nowadays, standing it upright with the tip pointing to heaven is how I like it. Some people have come to feel that the upside-down tree is disrespectful and sacrilegious, the same way the broken inverted cross (peace symbol) is an anti-Christ symbol. Fads may come, and fads may go, all in the name of art. It's easier to keep the tree watered with the point going heavenward. Duh!

There also seems to be many smaller table-top trees available, great for small apartments or crowded living spaces. They give the fragrance and the shimmer.

I've surrendered and I'm about to drag that artificial tree out of the garage. For doing so, releases the joyous decorating that brings the warm and happy feelings for the season.

If you are gazing at the moon or dancing in the moonlight, Sunday the 3rd is the evening for the first - and last - full supermoon of the year. Supermoon is the popular name for the full or new moon happening when the lunar orb approaches Earth. In its elliptical circling, coming close to our planet makes it visible to the naked eye. It is the fourth this year, but the one we can see close-up. Happening at 10:47 a.m. ET, that is when it is the closest to our planet, meaning that the moon will appear about seven percent larger and 16 percent brighter. It will be 221,824 miles away, so don't fret if you have a tough time spotting it with your naked eye. The best time to see it is at sunset or sunrise when the moon is near the horizon. Just enjoy the bigger and brighter night to dance the night away. Be of good cheer.

Dance by a tree and thank it for our fresh air and our being able to have breathing purities.

Joyce Comingore: Master Gardener; hibiscus enthusiast; and member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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