Many of us remember the trip to cut down the family Christmas tree. Since I grew up on a farm, where a portion of it was wooded, it simply meant bundling up and hopping on the tractor with Dad to go to our woods, where we selected the best Eastern Red Cedar tree and cut it down. I was generally over-enthusiastic when it came to the size of the tree. It was always a shock when the puny sapling that Dad insisted would be big enough, miracuously grew to touch the ceiling when brought inside. It was an annual tradition and I took it for granted that everyone did the same thing.
These days, the number of families living in subdivisions, urban areas and small city lots outnumber the family farms. Often the traditional Christmas tree hunt consists of driving to a corner in a shopping center parking lot and selecting the least offensive tree from the battered and dried offerings. The fire hazard is strapped to the top of the car or SUV and driven home, trailing a snowstorm of dead needles behind it.
There are wonderful alternatives to this not-so heartwarming image and Go Gardening is just the place to start. Throughout the US and Canada, Christmas tree farms are busy this time of year hosting families that want to select and cut their own tree. They have the acreage and the trees, you supply the family, and a new tradition is born. Many farms even offer hayrides, hot cider and family-friendly activities; some simply provide a more intimate experience with few amenities. Either way, it is a fun, family-friendly outdoor activity and an instant tradition.
For families living in an area where conditions are unsuitable for growing Christmas trees, or for the family that might find transporting one difficult, there is an alternative. The Garden Watchdog lists mail order vendors that cut and ship fresh Christmas trees, wreaths and seasonal greenery right to your door. Customer feedback reports lets you shop with confidence and with a click of the mouse; fresh greenery is on its way. If you wish to purchase a tree suitable for planting, these Garden Watchdog vendors specialize in live evergreens.
The Garden Watchdog also helps with other seasonal purchases. Bulbs are a popular winter decoration because of their ease of care and the long lasting blossoms. From Amaryllis to paper whites, these companies offer a variety of bulbs for brightening the short gray days. Some vendors even offer pre-chilled bulbs, making it easy for customers that live in a tropical area to enjoy plants requiring a cold period.
Citrus trees are a popular winter decoration or gift and the Garden Watchdog lists mail order vendors that specialize in these as well.
For those searching for the perfect gift for a gardener, many companies offer gift certificates, or search for your gardener's favorite plant, tool, birdfeeder, garden decor, or even a greenhouse from the comfort of the computer desk. The Garden Watchdog is a helpful tool and we encourage you to rate your favorite companies so others can learn from your experience.
The lovely Christmas Tree farm images are from Cedar Hill Berry Farm, Almonte, Ontario, Canada. We thank Ria for graciously permitting us to use them. Find contact information and a map on their listing in Go Gardening. We would love to see images of your favorite Christmas Tree farm and there is a link on every listing that allows you to add some to their page. The amaryllis cultivar is 'Supreme' and we thank critterologist for letting us use her image.