Bigger and better every year.
Our Christmas tree is now 10 years old and is slowly getting bigger! It is now over 2m tall. When it outgrows the doorway it will be allowed to reside in the garden. It is an indigenous Araucaria evergreen called a Bunya Bunya.
Bunya Bunya’s have massive (35kg) cones of edible nuts. We must be careful never to stand under a Bunya when it is in fruit. Bunyas are an ancient species, surviving over hundreds of millions of years. But very few of these proud ancestors were stuck in a pot and harassed by summer ornaments. Our Christmas tree has character. The young leaves are bright green and there is a positive glow about the tree. We must forgive this tree for having bent branches due to the annual decorations and an imperfect trunk due to constant traffic on the balcony where it usually resides in the ‘off-season’.
Before you rush out to buy one of these trees in time for Christmas just 8 years later, be warned! There is a reason that this tree species is an ancient survivor. Beneath the good looks is resilience (it is heavy and strong) and great self-defense strategies (it’s pretty anit-social). Getting a Bunya Bunya to come indoors is a battle that needs armory and planning. Even after using thick clothes, eye protection and gloves, we bear the scars. A Bunya Bunya gives nasty scratches to anything that goes near it including possums, deer, birds and festive revelers. The plan is to bring the tree in when the days are dry. This makes it lighter to transport. We then let it have Christmas ‘drinks’ in moderation to avoid the risk of death by over-watering.
There are workable alternatives to living in a sea of toxic plastic. This is the season of great consumer-power. Lets enjoy supporting farmers, restorers, artists and craft-makers who make the effort to rid our world of non-recyclables and invest in ethical gifts.
Value Biological Resources
A fundamental principle of Permaculture design is to use biological resources. An investment in renewable resources such as a living tree requires only a little maintenance. Like a fine wine, it gets better as it ages. Traditionally, most people would cut or buy a cut tree (you can use a branch), bring it in and then find a use for it after Christmas. Most people have to compost there tree somewhere.
Real Is Better
A real tree is a far better choice than a plastic tree. The plastic tree not only gets shabby with age, it is nearly impossible to recycle because it made of many different types of plastics and not made to be easily disassembled.
A simple native conifer or pine tree that is fragrant and not spiky would be an excellent investment. If you have patience and skill, invest in a rare indigenous tree. This will give you pride and revolutionise the legendary tradition of having a real Christmas Tree. If you want to a few sample, dig up a weedy pine sapling from beside the road. If you are feeling highly skilled and have no growing space, try a bonsai Christmas tree. Bonsai’s can live for hundreds of years.
Let’s start a fashion growing potted Christmas trees and if we succeed we can give the spares as a special future Christmas present.