mardi 28 décembre 2010

Can I buy a Christmas tree and be Green?

I bow to Lucy Siegle on ecological/green matters and I love her weekly column in the Observer; she seems to answer all those little niggling questions about ecology and it's great to have her detailed research for us 'trying our best to be green' public, so here's what she has to say about buying a Christmas tree.

Fake or real?

I'm talking about Christmas trees! We always used to have a real Xmas tree when I lived with my parents. Mum used to clear up the fallen needles on a daily basis (I think there was a bit of heavy sighing to accompany this task) and I was always sad to see the tree disappear on 12th night. When it came to choosing a tree for my own family, we opted for a fake because we lived in a small flat with a very small baby who ate anything that fell on the floor (and Xmas tree needles weren't part of his reccomended diet). So we've stuck with our cute fake (quite real looking tree) for 8 yrs now and it's still going strong although I can see signs of ageing this year (can't we all?).

I love the smell, the look and authenticity of real Christmas trees but when I see them lying in their hundreds on the road in January, waiting for the dustbin men, I wonder about the sense of cutting down loads of trees and then 2 weeks later throwing them away. I'm not taking the moral high ground here, I know the trees are replaced in the forests and grown for that very reason, and I know that some households buy trees with roots that can be replanted, and many trees are pulped and used for other purposes, so in effect they are recycled, and I know that in France many households buy a special bag in which to dispose their tree and the proceeds go to charity, and yes, is it more damaging to the environment when we'll eventually dispose of our fake tree, but still I'm wondering.....

Here's a photo of a whole load of trees that form part of our town's Christmas display. I must admit it looks great now it's all covered in snow, but again, I think these trees will also be thrown out by the end of January...

samedi 18 décembre 2010

Viva Espana!

Even the plants in the Alcazar had their own specially made containers.  This fern looks particularly happy.  Small versions of this pot are for sale in the souvenir shop.

Viva Espana!

Me and significant other took a trip to gorgeous Seville in November. Warm no-coat weather, bright sunshine made this city really come alive for us. What a vibrant wonderful place it is. And the mother of all gardens resides in this fair city - the Royal Palace of Alcazar. A historic, breathtaking spectacle....look at those photos!

The overwhelming sensation was of green and cool places to rest in what is the sweltering heat in summer. Many water gardens, spectacular fountains and so much symmetry. A beautiful fragrant white jasmine hedge, a moss covered folly in a fountain, unattainable except perhaps for a Queen? The sensation of being in another world, lost in green, the sheer beauty and vistas leading onto vistas, tree lined paths and sheer 'detente'.