Scottish Daily Mail
HOLLIES are now carrying bumper berry crops this season. I f you have your own tree and need branches for indoor Christmas decorations, watch out for the birds.
No one wants to deprive them of winter feed. But if you protect a branch or two, they can feed on the rest.
Small birds may be trapped in f i ne netting, s o use horticultural fleece. You can wrap that loosely round the selected branch and tie it gently with soft string.
Light can still penetrate the flimsy gauze, keeping the l eaves f r esh and green. Alternatively, cut holly stems now, while in full berry. Keep them in a bucket of clean water until needed.
To ensure water uptake, make an oblique cut at the base of each stem. Place it into the water when newly cut. The bucket should be kept full to the brim.
Keep your cut holly somewhere cold and shady. A garage is fine, or use a dark corner in your garden. In cold conditions, cut holly should stay fresh until needed for decking the halls.
If you’re relying on purchased holly, treat that the same way. Re- cut the stem bases before standing them in water.