Scottish Daily Mail

GAR­DEN­ING:

- NIGEL COLBORN’S ES­SEN­TIAL JOBS FOR YOUR GAR­DEN THIS WEEK Gardening · Hobbies

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.

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