14 Dec 2012

A Tradition Reinvents Itself

It started when I stumbled across Abies concolor while visiting Whistling Gardens earlier in the year. In the back of my mind was the notion of reinventing a family tradition, that of the Holiday Tree. For many of the past forty-odd years my family had decorated an artificial tree. Somewhere along the twisted path was the notion that they were more environmentally friendly than the fresh cut coniferous trees of bygone decades.

Abies concolor – known to some as the ‘White Fir’ – is one of the most beautiful of all conifers. Superficially it resembles Picea glauca, but upon closer inspection reveals softer, longer almost fern-like needles that gracefully point upwards from corky orange barked branches. For me it is all about the colour of its needles – a hypnotic blue/gray/green, that is the result of light coloured needles being predominant in the foreground, with the darker green ones appearing to be set deeper along its branches. Best of all, and perhaps most surprising and unarming to the unsuspecting, is the delightful citrus aroma that bruised or crushed needles emit! This ain’t the tree my Grandparents first introduced me to decades ago!

DSC_0038 And this brings us to today, the day my first fresh cut tree in over forty years is set up and is ready for decorating! Its somewhat exasperating realizing that most of the ornaments that the family has gathered over the years are inappropriate – most are simply too heavy – many being crystal or even pewter – for such a delicate beauty as is ‘Concolor.’ It would mean new lights and ornaments with the hope of rescuing some of the heirlooms along the way. And thus the journey began…

No one has ever accused me of being a Martha wannabe, and even in my garden I tend to lean towards a more renegade approach. I like them rare, unusual and preferably blue if at all possible! ‘Concolor’ is the next best thing to the dastardly prickly needles of Picea glauca where blue/silver is concerned. It was soon apparent that the colour scheme of choice should revolve around this aspect. White, silver and possibly champagne were my first choices. Who the hell is Martha? Fine. Perhaps I was channeling the design guru, but seriously, if you want to experience a true Martha Holiday Experience, visit the home of my Brother! In the past week our tree had undergone a trimming of sorts. Those familiar with ‘Concolor’ know that thanks to a complex pruning during its short life before being cut for the Holiday market, it is a rather wide and bushy specimen! Emphasis on the wide! The branches that were removed were collected and made into a rather large, bushy wreath, thanks to my co-worker Li…


but back to the tree itself! LED Cool White lights laid the foundation for what I envisioned to be an icy exercise with avian friends, [Owls] shimmering snowflakes, gnarled coral globes, [hopefully affording a woodland texture] glittery Moose with their humorous antlers and ribbon. Of course there would also be treasured heirlooms from bygone years in order to emphasize the true meaning of ‘tradition’ as well. I am happy with the results and look forward to many more years.

DSC_0012DSC_0014 I really like these new LED’s. Almost look blue but are actually clear! And here are some of the decorations adorning its branches:

DSC_0034 DSC_0040 DSC_0059 DSC_0062 Wishing my followers and friends the happiest of Holiday Seasons and the very best for the coming year!


outlawgardener said...

Dear Martha,

Such a beautiful tree! I especially love the goofy owls! Happy Holidays right back at you!

Marie said...

I do believe a hidden bird ornament is required for good luck. Can you find one and hide it deep withing somehow?

Northern Shade said...

It's very pretty with all of the silvery lights and garlands, and those rumpled owls are wonderful.

Merry Christmas.

Anna said...

Hope that you had a great Christmas Barry and that your birthday has been filled with fun and flowers xxx