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Topics for articles can get really scarce this time of year! I was talking with my wife at lunch this week and mentioned that I needed a topic for an article. She said what about Christmas Greens? I said that’s perfect, I can talk about how to pick and maintain collards and kale throughout the cool season. She said, “That’s not what I meant, I was talking about ever-greens, like trees and wreaths! ”All I could say is that I like collards too!

How about the wreaths and Christmas trees? I had a special article that ran at Thanksgiving to talk about the trees but what about the wreaths? Have you ever wondered where all that beautiful greenery comes from?

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers do a fundraiser every year selling Christmas wreaths. The wreaths this year were from a new supplier. They came from a family-owned farm in Alleghany County, just outside the little town of Sparta, NC. They grow roughly 300 acres of Christmas trees for wholesale and market. I had a chance to talk with them when I picked the wreaths up from their farm in November. It just happened to be the first day they had received more than a tenth of an inch of rain since June! She had chickens that were producing eggs already but hadn’t really ever been in the rain yet!

She and her brother talked to me a little more and come to find out, the Christmas trees were suffering from a pretty severe drought at that point. It didn’t hurt the quality of the product though! One of my friends owns Eastern Pines Dental in Greenville and he buys wreaths from us every year. I asked how they were doing and he said they were just as perfect as the day I brought them. Ms. Amy told me that to keep them fresh, it is a good idea to spray them down with water twice a week. Our previous supplier, whom we had bought from since before I came to Extension, wasn’t able to make the wreaths this year due to a lack of growth on the trees resulting from the drought.

Washington's historic Leach House, owned by The Gerard's and decorated by The Acreage - Gene Fox

Washington’s historic Leach House, owned by The Gerard’s and decorated by The Acreage – Gene Fox

Ms. Amy said they cut them fresh that weekend to make the wreaths for us. Her brother chimed in and pointed to a tree on the hillside that had been limbed from the ground to within a foot of the top of the tree. He said they needed a little more so he had to cut it close to home. Ms. Amy said she couldn’t believe he did that, she had grown that tree near the house to be her Christmas tree this year!

The greenery for our wreaths comes from the trimmings produced when they prune the trees. They have to prune the trees to get that perfect Christmas tree look that consumers have grown to expect. She also said that trees are really expensive this year due to the drought! There is a lot of work that goes into those trees and wreaths! Did you know that they grow Christmas trees for anywhere from six to twelve years? That is a long time to get a return on an investment!!

If you are having an issue in your home landscape or have a question, give me a call or drop me an email. Your question just might make the paper! Make sure to check out our Beaufort County Master Gardener Facebook page to see the Plant of the Week, Food Fridays, and upcoming classes! Until next time, Happy Gardening!